Thursday, 10 July 2008

Fearing Normality

"Normality shouldn't be so terrifying."
Very interesting statement that came up the other day when I was talking with a friend. It's made me think rather a lot about what it is that I truly want. The old British adage "anything for a quiet life" is, to me, simultaneously attractive and utterly terrifying. One part of me would love to have no pressure, nothing to worry about; the dominant part has a persistent desire to achieve something, to make some form of a mark on the world.
Fading into the background and doing something meaningless with my life may well provide less stress in the daily living, but doing something meaningless with my life would be, by definition, entirely unfulfilling.
But the more I think about it, the more I realise that doing something great or noteworthy by the world's standards is perhaps worse than doing nothing at all in terms of the value it will add to my life. Most people who are incredible "successful" in the world’s eyes suffer from that accomplishment daily, reflecting the stress, loneliness, worry and fear of loss in their constant grasping for more. Yes, I'm generalising, but Jesus said it was harder for a rich man to enter the kingdom of Heaven than for a camel to fit through the eye of a needle. I don't think he was being entirely metaphorical. I think (shoot me if you will) that he meant it. And yes, it is more about the priorities of your life, and whether "the money owns you" (*gags on the cliché*) but let's be realistic, eh? Even the rich young ruler, who had followed ALL of the commandments from his youth still LACKED one thing- "Go, sell all of your possessions and give to the poor- then you will have much treasure in heaven".
So I guess the point I’m coming to is that making a mark on the world is just a worthless as a life of mediocrity. But those things that are worth something eternally are worth investing in.
The question of how much I accomplish eternally and what my life is worth is not measured by the things I do externally , but by what is in my heart as I go. If I give some change to the guy on the street and feel smug about being so generous for parting with a fiver- rest assured, I’ve had all the reward for that already. A heart of love for the lost, and caring for the fatherless, being an ordinary radical- someone who loves people as only Jesus can, in every part of life. These are the things I aspire to. God give me grace to grow in those things that are really significant.

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