The American way of life makes me feel guilty!

I get suckered into thinking I should be more goal-oriented.  (Thank you Charles Sanders Peirce!) )

This pragmatic, can-do philosophy has even pervaded American Christianity.

I was reading an article last night whose premise was that we often plan a 2- week vacation with more intentionality than we do our Christian life. The author suggested that if we wanted to DO BETTER than waste our life, we should implement some systematic backward planning.  Something like, “Picture your funeral – what do you want to be remembered for having done as a Christian?”  And the advice was:  with THAT goal in mind, just plan the necessary steps to reach it.

I was left with the feeling that I am just a selfish drifter, wasting my life!  And shame on me for having chosen to move somewhere SIMPLY because it’s a pretty part of the country (Smokey Mountains of western North Carolina).

Thankfully, in church this morning recollections of some writings of one of my mentors (Martin Luther) reached the conscious level of my thoughts and I regained some clarity.   How Luther blesses us is in his re-iteration of Paul’s view of work and life.  We are to do ALL for the glory of God, whether it is serving up meals, changing diapers, repairing a car or preparing coffee at Starbucks.  NO work is ‘merely’ a job to endure, with no connection to Christ.  Work was commanded by God BEFORE the Fall.  We are made in the image of God and God WORKED and continues to work/uphold all creation/ direct all creation.

Hence we are to labor WITHOUT guilt but with gusto & gratitude. There doesn’t have to be any grand goal, other than the moment-by-moment abiding in Him AS we live out our 3 score and ten.

Jesus boiled down the entire  Law to Loving God and Loving our Neighbor.  If living with gratitude and in God’s power is how we love Him, then what does it look like to love one’s neighbor?   Here is my sense drawn from Scripture:    

Loving others is wanting God’s best for them.  What could be better for any human being than to know that the God who created them designed them for His glory and to be in an intimate relation with Him?   Loving the people we come in contact with through our work/daily errands means being willing to share the good news of what Jesus has done.

I was running a potential conversation through my mind this morning:

Me slowly, deliberately and with enthusiasm:  – Have you heard what Jesus Christ has done?

My ‘neighbor’: – yes, no, tell me, who cares……

Me: Because we have rebelled, each one of us, against God – our Creator, we deserve death for that treason. But Jesus stood in the place of condemned humanity to take our punishment!

My ‘neighbor’:  – So? Your point is? What does that have to do with me? Really?

Me: good question and yes it IS important to YOU!  There are only 2 kinds of people in this world: a) those who are poor, needy and grateful to be rescued from the punishment for their guilt AND….b) those who are poor, needy but intend to face God on their own, standing on their own merits.

My ‘neighbor’:  – Hmm, I don’t believe that; That’s so judgmental; that’s not fair; everyone goes to heaven; there’s nothing after we die; that’s just YOUR opinion! Whatever….

Me: That’s not all!  Besides being rescued from having to pay for our guilt on our own….. God the Father, solely because of what Jesus has done for us, offers us ADOPTION into the royal – forever family!  Now that is GOOD news.  Had you heard that before?


Anyway, that is what I am praying I will courageously offer with those people God brings across my path HERE in WNC (western North Carolina). 

I’ll leave you with a question.  Isn’t it ‘kinda’ PRE-SUMP-TU-OUS to think that WE are in charge of our lives and therefore, should set life goals?