The Baptism of the Lord
I’ve often wondered what made Jesus so compelling that people would quit their jobs, walk away from their families, and follow him. The suddenness with which this reportedly happened in scripture is probably not literal. They likely had lengthier conversations with Jesus, talked to their families, and packed some things before leaving. Yet the point is that they were willing to leave everything behind – their security, income, loved ones…everything.
I don’t think I could do that. I love my security – knowing I have a roof over my head and I will not go hungry. I love being with my family, a fact even more evident in this time of COVID isolation. I love my work, knowing I am “feeding” and healing people who need it. I can’t imagine risking losing it all, no matter how charismatic the person might be or how tempting the invitation sounds.
The underlying and most challenging question: So what WOULD I be willing to let go of for God? Ah, that’s where the rubber hits the road.
Sometimes, this is an overarching “life question”. Those with a vocation to the priesthood or religious life do leave everything behind, sometimes including their very name. For those of us whose vocation is in the world of laity, the question is murkier. Certainly, as a mom and wife, roles I believe God called me to, I sacrificed many things (including a ton of sleep!). I’ve left jobs that I felt were not in line with God’s will for me, or in one case, a job that was the fulfillment of God’s will for me at the time, until I felt led in a different direction.
More often, the question isn’t overarching but instead relates to my daily activities, my purchases, and my priorities. For instance:
- How conscious am I of wasting precious water because Iwant a long, hot shower?
- How willing am I to drive less rather than contribute to pollution?
- Can I go out of my way to be kind, smile, and be appreciative even when I’m in a hurry?
- Can I donate more money and possessions to people who have less than I do, to the point where it’s a true sacrifice rather than only giving from my excess?
- In this time of COVID, can I wear a mask and maintain social distance to protect other people even though it’s a hassle for me?
- How many hours a week could I spend volunteering rather than coveting all my leisure hours as “my time” that I believe I deserve?
- Speaking of time, how many hours a week do I devote solely to my relationship with God, even though there is always, always so very much to do?
- How often do I thank, encourage, and support my loved ones vs. how often I criticize them, take them for granted, or complain about them to others?
Obviously, the list of questions could continue. So let it! What questions do YOU need to ask about your life, activities, possessions, and priorities? What are you willing to give up or change for God? Let’s commit ourselves to doing a better job, for the benefit of the Body of Christ.
Amy Florian is a teacher and consultant working in Chicago. For many years she has partnered with the Passionists. Visit Amy’s website: http://www.corgenius.com/.