Here is the question. Why would God not make himself more obvious? Why is he not more visible?
After I watched “The Passion” again last week, I thought of something that might be the answer — that God is looking for those who will put effort into their lives, not just take the easy way. I thought of this because when I saw Christ’s life, the amazing way he gave and sacrificed, I saw how much I still am shallow and comfort oriented, in spite of all my good intentions and efforts.
Ken and I were discussing classical music and how there isn’t a large audience at classical concerts in Columbus. Ken said, “People just have so many things that they can do now — phones, game systems. Listening to classical music involves more effort to listen, so people don’t want to do that.” People don’t want to put in the extra effort. I am not saying there is anything wrong with people who don’t listen to classical music, I am merely observing that people want to take the easy way.
The iconic dancer Martha Graham once said, “The only sin is mediocrity.”
Jesus said the most important commandment is, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” (Mark 12:30)
God expects us to give all we’ve got. There is no honor in living a shallow, self-centered life. God is looking for those who will look outside of themselves and see that there is more to life, that there is a higher power, and there are others who are our brothers.
“The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.” (Romans 1:19-22)
It is easy to go about life completely engrossed in our own affairs. It takes an intentionality to realize or remember that there is a God, and that what we have comes from him. It should be natural to think of this, but we are so fond of thinking of ourselves.
I was talking to someone yesterday who grew up as an atheist, and has been coming to faith. She said that she sways between one philosophy and another. Christianity sounds good one day, and then she reads a secular book and follows what it says. I told her she has to decide what is true and best, and then decide to live according to that. The rest of her life will depend on what she decides.
But most of us don’t put the thought in to decide. We’re too busy putting out fires. Or we are busy earning a living and raising a family, and then we don’t want to think, we want to have fun.
I wrote a musical about the book of Ruth, and in this musical Naomi sings a song about her life when she lived in Moab. Here is one verse of what she sings:
I let myself procrastinate
My mind was so unclear
Lost in the distractions
Day by day, year by year
Never stopping to consider
Didn’t let my conscience steer
It was too late when I realized
Indecision brought me here.
Who will live with intentionality? How many of us will get outside of our egocentric constructs and see what is true and best, and make a decision to live according to this?
“My meaning simply is, that whatever I have tried to do in life, I have tried with all my heart to do well; that whatever I have devoted myself to, I have devoted myself to completely; that in great aims and in small, I have always been thoroughly in earnest.” Charles Dickens, David Copperfield
“I do the very best I know how, the very best I can, and I mean to keep on doing so until the end.” Abraham Lincoln
“Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to.” ( Luke 13:24)