And I’m back at the coffee shop. There’s an Italian woman across the cafe, and at a table next to her, a woman sits and reads her child a story. I’m eating a delicious cheddar biscuit, while wondering why the people who pour my coffee have no concept of what room for cream means.
I love this place :).
So here’s the thing. As Christians, we are called to bear fruit. The Gospel is full of parables about servants who get punished for not multiplying their inheritance, or for being fruitless trees. Its a little terrifying, to be honest.
I remember being really frustrated with God when I was applying for jobs. I tried to get involved in ministry, but nothing came of it. I kept begging the Lord, “Lord! I want to do your work! What the beep?”
And even after I got that job, the frustration didn’t stop. You want to talk about planting seeds and bearing fruit? Its my job to plant seeds and bear fruit. But its easy to get frustrated when those 8th graders just keep misbehaving, or when I have to watch the eyes of parents glaze over in a baptism class.
But you don’t have to work in ministry to have this issue. We all want to be great and do great things. John Paul II, after all, tells us we were made for greatness, right? We want our family and friends to know Christ. Or maybe we just want to be super great at our jobs or school.
And who can blame us? From our first years in school, we are being graded and evaluated. We have to get the best grades to get into the best schools. We have to be the best athlete to win the sports ball game match (that was a joke :)). We have to have the best resume and the greatest accomplishments to get the best job.
But, here’s the thing. God wants a certain kind of person, not a certain kind of doer.
My job is the plant seeds. But I want it to rain. I want these stupid seeds to grow because I want to prove to God and to myself that I’m good enough. I want to be a rainmaker. But we’re not rainmakers. We’re farmers.
Jesus Christ tells us to seek first the Kingdom of God and the rest will come to us. St. Catherine says “Be who you are and you will set the world on fire”.
What does God want from you and me? He wants our hearts. He doesn’t call us to make the seeds grow. because we are not rain makers.
First and foremost, God just wants to be our Father. The Lord wants us to recognize ourselves as His children. Our value isn’t in how many things we accomplish. Our value is simply in the fact that we are children of the Lord. Its not something we earn—its written in our very soul. It just sort of “is”.
And when we see ourselves as we truly our and let God live in our hearts, we become His instruments. That’s the final goal. Our purpose is not to “do” this and that thing. Our purpose is to be an instrument of the Lord.
And, if I am an instrument of the Lord, who am I to say how God uses me? Even if I touch one soul, that soul is just as important as so and so who touches a million. It’s Christ the Good Shepard, who leaves the 99 for the 1 lost sheep, right?
The Little Flower, St. Theresa, had this very simple outlook. “Do small things with great love”. I don’t know about you, but that seems like a bit of a cop out. So, what are you saying? It sounds like an excuse to be lazy, passive or stagnant.
But, then I think, that’s not at all what she is saying. God’s first law is to love. Love, when loving rightly, is never passive or lazy. Love is always active. Love just gives, it seeks the good of the other without calculation. Love just gives.
I’m always struck by the story of the sower who plants seeds on the path, rocky ground, and good soil. The sower is just walking around, throwing his seeds all willy nilly! He throws seeds with reckless abandon. He doesn’t stop and ask if they will grow, or if he’ll be successful.
Why? Because that’s what an instrument of God does. He doesn’t stop to calculate his value because he knows his value as a son of God. He does the will of the Lord by doing the task that God has called him to do in the moment, and trusts God, the Rain Maker, to do the rest..
So, what does God really call us to “do”? God wants us to love Him, to be His instrument, and then love God in “the other”.
God wants a certain kind of person. He wants you.