Cover of Pay it Forward
1. CONGRATULATIONS to my friend Rob Rife, whom you may have met at Buddy Breathing here and here. Rob just launched a brand new blog called ‘Innerwoven’. Rob describes it as, “A place to discuss the intersections among worship, the arts, liturgy, and spiritual formation” Drop by and join in the conversation. I’m certain it will be worth your time.
2. Ever have your world view shift, and immediately make assumptions why, only to find out you are in a completely different galaxy… you are that wrong? Such was a telephone conversation I had the pleasure/pain of experiencing yesterday afternoon. Specifics aside, this individual offered to help us, to give time and energy and focus on an ongoing basis… at NO COST to us!
So here I am, thinking he’s going to tell me he’s a Christian, and then we’ll have this little ooh and ahh conversation around our shared faith. Instead, he said, “Now I’m not a religious man, but I feel we are all placed on this planet to help each other! ‘Cause I think there’s going to be a quiz at the end.” You could have knocked me over with the remote phone! I was blown away. I thought ‘goodness’ like that was out of style, or the thing of experiments like the movie ‘Pay it Forward‘. I was so positive it took divine motivation to cause this type of altruistic thinking… like Mother Theresa… or like my kid volunteering at the food bank! But, here is this guy who is motivated by an inner goodness, because… well, it is just the way he is.
Hmmm… working through what that says to me…
What do you think?
3. And then, on the very same day, I met someone else who was interested in the people and the place he lived in so much, that he was willing to be a catalyst, align himself to see others succeed, connect people with other people who would help them… again… at NO COST!
Seems like there’s a theme here, folks. I mean, why would I have this somewhat arrogant bias that people are only motivated or inspired to do extraordinary things because of their faith? Especially in the face of this immediate evidence. And is the motivation what matters, or the outcome?
Do you ever wonder what makes a philanthropist tick? Could it be more than the tax benefits? More than the strokes of affirmation? Could it be, that God is part of our original DNA, like we’re soaked in his love and goodness from the day we’re born? Could God be the source of our inner desire to reach out to the less fortunate, to give until it hurts us, to consider others better than ourselves, to sacrifice unto death (of self, or of life itself) whether we believe in him or not?
Of course not everyone is motivated to do good, but many people are. We are often aware of our motivation being wrong… when a selfish, conceited, rising up for the glory, part of us does these things… good things… for the wrong reasons. Reasons like lust for position, power, affirmation, even just attention. So while we are capable of huge acts of compassion… really, dig down deep inside to the motivating factors, and they are an ‘act’. That’s just wrong.
I say I’m motivated to do good by a love for God and compassion for the people that he loves, but is that true 24/7? I mean, really? If I look inside myself and find something less than that, does that make me a HYPOCRITE? I don’t like where this is going. And are my ‘Godly motive’s, when and if they are ever pure, somehow better than these others who do not profess to be faith motivated? I need to get down off my high horse and check my attitude.
And in this ongoing internal checkup, I quickly recognize my limitations and my imperfections (and my sins). I could get stuck right there and do nothing, but I don’t do that. Because while I recognize my lack, again I see God’s provision and power (yes… this is my default and my viewpoint for everything!). I see and experience a God who takes my less than perfect motivation and talent and availability, and makes something good out of it. Again I wonder if God does that all around the globe, resulting in acts of goodness and love from those who don’t even believe in him?
At the end of the day, I think the only true measure of a life (human measure) is the time tested, maturing, evident character that seeps out of the pores of people like Mother Theresa. You have no doubt what she was about, and why she was about it. I mean, I’ve never heard an unkind word spoken about her, have you? She was the epitome of peace, humility, grace, goodness, compassion, mercy, love… and I attribute that to who she worked for.
How’s that for a ramble? Any thoughts?
4. I’m looking for a poetry editor… anyone have any suggestions? Now that sounds like taking a step toward something… like a book, doesn’t it? But I could be mistaken!
5. And speaking of poetry, and Mother Theresa, here is a poem credited to her. Enjoy.
People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered.
Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives.
Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies.
If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you.
Be honest and sincere anyway.
What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight.
If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous.
Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, will often be forgotten.
Do good anyway.
Give the best you have, and it will never be enough.
Give your best anyway.
In the final analysis, it is between you and God.
It was never between you and them anyway.
Soli deo gloria,