On a Via de Cristo weekend, one of the talks is entitled “Piety.” We learn that piety is part of a balanced Christian life, which also includes study and apostolic action. True piety means directing your entire life toward God; doing His will, understanding His purposes. The song, “Seek Ye First” is a good reminder to do this every day.
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. Matthew 22:37-39
As I’ve been thinking about the theme for this month my brain keeps coming back to the thought of loving yourself. I have a really hard time with this concept as a Christian. I know that God loves me and created me (and God don’t make no junk!) but my brain gets scrambled with the worlds’ concept of loving ourselves.
We are bombarded everyday with advertisements about making ourselves better. If we do this or buy that we’ll be so much better, so much prettier, so much more desirable as a person. Beauty products, hair products, vitamins, gym equipment, clothes, shoes; the list goes on and on. Go to this spa, this gym, this hairdresser and they will make you look wonderful. Maybe we don’t love ourselves if we are constantly trying to fix something or maybe we love ourselves too much because we spend so much time and money, and we’re worth it? Then there are the self-esteem and self-image problems and I, truly, don’t even want to go there. There are so many self-help books, just pick a problem and then pick up a book to fix it.
What does loving myself look like? I look at myself and I see a corrupt, sinful being. How can I love that? I know that Jesus loves me and that he died for me. I was created for a purpose. That makes me think that, perhaps, I might be worth saving. Jesus certainly thinks so.
Then I’m to take this new found love for myself and turn it on my neighbor. Oh boy. What a task!! Although, I think that sometimes it’s easier to love our neighbor then it is to love ourselves. I have no problem taking care of others; I’ve proved that with my care-giving roles. I have a tough time taking care of myself and I think that is where my problem is. I need to stop looking at the world for the answer to my dilemma.
As a child of God I should respect and take care of myself so that I’m ready to do God’s will. I don’t need to go overboard and try to be a fashion or makeup model. I have to be me, the person God created. I know, that’s easier said than done. But in the future, I will try to love myself more as the Lord loves me. Then it will be easier to love my neighbor and I’m sure that the quality of that love will be much better.
I blogged recently about being a Pastor’s wife. The truth is I, and all of you, have many roles. We are mothers and wives, employees and daughters, friends and neighbors, church members and siblings. In each of these roles we have a responsibility to be God’s hands and feet in the world. On a Via de Cristo weekend, we call the team members who are serving others chas, which stands for Christ’s hands in Action. When you think of your whole life that way, it puts a different perspective on the smallest and most mundane actions.
Martin Luther, changed the whole understanding of vocation. In his time, those who had a “vocation” were the priests, nuns and monks. These people were the ones who were giving their lives to God. Luther said everyone could do this; those in religious orders were no different or better than the ordinary person who was striving to dedicate their daily life to God. Milking cows was as holy and important a role as leading the Mass.
This doesn’t mean we can go about our lives without any thought of God; instead it means that we should be thinking of God and trying to do His will ALL THE TIME. Imagine how the world would change if every one of us did this? It would put an end to a lot of cursing, gossip, insults and other kinds of careless talk. It would lead to productive employees, concerned parents, helpful neighbors and caring friends. I suspect that the harder I try to do this, the more contented and peaceful I’ll become.
The work I have in this world is the work God has given me. The roles I fulfill are the ones He chose for me. Each of them will teach me something and bring me closer to Him if I just remember who I am: a steward of the King.