Sunday, June 20, 2010

zeal

A Jesuit friend of mine gave me a book that I keep in my office, Thoughts of St. Ignatius Loyola for Every Day of the Year. I don't read it every day but just happened to see today's thought and noticed how appropriate it is for me during this season of life.

"The most precious crown is reserved in heaven for those who do all that they do as zealously as possible: for to do good deeds is not enough by itself; we must do them well."

The first half of that sentence wouldn't make any sense without the phrase 'as zealously as possible.' Go ahead; re-read it. That would make it sound like something my college tennis coach would yell at practice... At any rate, I've been learning the lesson over the past few months/years that it's not as much what you do (or where you do it), but how you do it.

The world teaches us to be result oriented, to be productive, to measure our success by whether or not we accomplish our goals. God, on the other hand, is method oriented. I think God cares about results, I mean he's orchestrated the creation of the universe and commands us to make disciples of all nations -- those are some serious results -- but what does it mean that God is method oriented? Well, remember that the outcome is not in doubt, that the end of the story has already been written. However, our role in how history gets told is what's still up in the air. God has chosen us all as main characters so that he could share with us the glory of his story. It's not about the results, it's about doing them to honor God.

St. Ignatius says it beautifully. 'The most precious crown is reserved in heaven' for those who do those deeds zealously. We're not called to do all that we do -- rather do all that we do with great energy and enthusiasm as we pursue justice and peace and truth and all in the name of Jesus Christ. God is taking care of the results, we need to just focus on the how.

So think about keeping your eyes on the real prize, let your Heavenly Father take care of the specifics, and do all that you do as zealously as possible... What situation are you in right now that is testing you? Think about the fact that God cares more about how you do it than the results.

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