Daily Reflection
July 17th, 2000
Steve Kline
Public Relations
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Isaiah 1:10-17
Psalms 50:8-9, 16-17, 21, 23
Matthew 10:34--11:1

" . . . Redress the wronged, hear the orphan's plea, defend the widow."     

   -- Isaiah 1-17

"He who seeks only himself brings himself to ruin, whereas he who brings himself to nought for me discovers who he is."       

 -- Matthew 10-38

God calls my bluff today.

He says:  "Don't tell me about your devotion to me.  Show me.  Live it out.  I'm tired of noise and bluster.  What have you done today with the gifts I have given you?"

Isaiah offers clear direction.  I am here for other people.  That is my job.  I even get specific instructions as to the types of folks I am here for -- people needing advocates, defenseless children, the abandoned.

"Wait a minute," I say.  "What about me?  Who is here for me?  Who will watch out for me if I don't?"

Well, that's a bluff.  Fact is, hundreds of people have been there for me all my life.  And God has been there for me, too.

Why is it so difficult to admit that?

Maybe it's because whining about what I want or what I don't have is easier than recognizing my responsibilities.  Maybe it's because self-pity is more comfortable than honesty.  Maybe it's because when I keep my focus on myself it's easier to avoid my broader responsibilities in God's world.  Matthew is clear on this point.  A life spent in self-preoccupation is a life of ruin.  A life lived for others puts me smack-dab in the middle of the Kingdom of God, which is there for me if I want it.

That doesn't mean that everything is warm, fuzzy and wonderful when I do choose God's Kingdom.  Nobody asks me to like it all the time.  In fact, I think Jesus says in today's Gospel that choosing Him very likely will create circumstances that I don't like and don't want.

Here's the tough part:  None of that harsh reality can excuse my irresponsible behavior.  No injustice or cruelty directed at me, no bitter loss or disappointment, no awful unfair circumstance can ever be a good reason to abdicate my responsibility to my sisters and brothers under God's care.  Nothing -- NOTHING -- changes the fact that God put me here to be a channel for His grace and love.

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