You Are What You Worship

In his monumental work The Sabbath, Abraham Joshua Heschel reminds the faithful, "There is a realm of time where the goal is not to have but to be, not to own but to give, not to control, but to share." For Christians, discipleship itself is sacred space that must also transcend the confines of time and space, so that the love of Christ is always made tangible in a busy and often cruel world. We are each invited to live our lives in this sacred realm, to resist the clutter of things and money that so easily skew our perspective of what is right and good according to God.

In the next eight weeks, we will be reminded by Jeremiah and the Psalms, by Paul in his letter to Timothy, and by Luke that our most important work is to magnify the presence of God wherever and whenever possible in the world. Surely no one of us is up to the task, even though we "are fearfully and wonderfully made" (Psalm 139:14) by a generous and loving God. But we are assured that we need only to care for the world as God does in order to be true disciples. With persistent prayer (Luke 18:6-7) and a steadfast faith (2 Timothy 3:14), we will love the prisoner, welcome the stranger (Hebrews 13:1-3), give to others abundantly, and rejoice when they cannot repay us (Luke 14:14). These everyday gestures to family, friends, co-workers, and strangers will reveal to all that we worship the one true God.

We will be reminded that the commitment to the gospel is an absolute one; only those free from possessions can accept it (Luke 14:33). The best way to resist the pull of possessions is by sharing all that we have, and doing so with joy; in the words of Mother Teresa, "It is not how much you give, but with how much love you give it." Our ability to give, and to do so with joy and love, will sufficiently betray our allegiance, not to any worldly leader or thing, but to the Holy One who has called us into being.

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Sojourners Magazine September-October 2001
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