Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Lenten Devotionals - Mark 4:1-25

Three chapters down! 40 more days to go! I am feeling some cautious optimism about this project today.

Just in time, then, for a really long passage. It’s our first parable and the analysis, and it’s one of my favourites. I feel that every time I hear the parable of sower, I want to go, “Rah! I am good soil! See my good soil! I will fertilize and water and will grow!” Which is somewhat ironic, because A., I always kill my plans (I have even killed cacti and those unkillable ugly plants), and B., I don’t spend as much time as I need to on my spiritual growth.

But I feel inspired. I want to be a good plant. I want to be produce a good crop. The issue, though, is that I want to do it in part because I want to shine over the others. I don’t feel inspired to be a good plant for a good plant’s sake. I want to be a good plant so I can shine over others, and I want to be a good plant so I can win and be exalted. I want the bountiful crop. I want everyone to look at me and go, oh, she’s doing it right.

And I’m not, really, doing it right. I mean, I think I’m doing it more right than wrong. I do think I’m on God’s side—I am a child of God, as mentioned last week. And part of me does want to do it because I’m in love with God, and want to please Him, and that’s what I want to do. But there’s part of me that is doing it just because I feel obligated to a long-ago promise, and there’s part of me that is doing it because I want to beat other people.

Do the ends justify the means? Sometimes, maybe. If you give money, for example, to a cause, it doesn’t matter if you are doing it for the tax benefits or because you believe in the cause; the cause still wins. That might not be a perfect metaphor, but there’s a nugget of truth in there. And like I said, I’m mixed. I’m not purely selfless—obviously, I’m not purely selfless—but I want to be, and I want to love God. I just want other things too. Maybe that’s why things are the way they are.

But isn’t everyone this way? Nobody can be purely good for purely good motives. Some people are good because they are brainwashed into it, their minds unable to survive. I’m not that. I know there are other ways to survive, and I can probably thrive. Some people are good because they want to be exalted, and that’s not me either. I don’t just want that. I want the relationship with God, first and foremost. I’m not selfish, either.

So what’s my standard of measure? I think I might have multiple standards. Maybe everyone does. But I want to be good, and I want to love God. The deepest part of me wants those things. That’s what I’m after. But other layers (onions have layers) want other things too. Is that okay? I think it might be, for now.

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