Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Two reasons, only two

I think it was a quarter-century ago or more, but someone told me that there are only two reasons for doing anything:
  1. You want to do it.
  2. God wants you to do it.
At first I thought, "That's too simple," but then I tried to think of a third valid reason.

Couldn't come up with one. I mean, "I don't wanna do this problem set but I want to get a good grade in the class" is just a tradeoff, which I claim falls under #1, because I want the result and therefore put up with the requirements. And "If I don't, my friend (or whoever) will be unhappy with me" is like that: I may hate the opera, but if a harmonious relationship with an opera-lover is high on my list, then....

And "My parents want me to do it" may or may not be valid, but if it is, it might come under #2 because of the command to "Honor your father and mother... that you may live long and that it may go well with you..." (Deuteronomy 5.16). And the same reasoning may apply to input from spiritual or other leaders, if what they want is within what the Lord wants and within the scope of the authority that I'm under.

Perhaps this is what Jesus means when he says,
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light
Matthew 11.28-30
When he says "Take my yoke," does that mean I can quit washing the dishes, writing reports, or filling the tank? Not unless I want to be jobless, stranded at the roadside out of gas, miles from a sink full of dirty dishes!

No, I think the point is that all those things that I do because I think somebody else wants me to, or because "that's the way we've always done it" or because it "must" be done -- some of those might not be what Jesus has in mind, and if I've taken his yoke, I'm not forced by that other yoke to do all those things.

Which in spite of the burden of choice, is good news.

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