OBE and laying down your life. I’ve been thinking, mulling, truth be told grieving over lost outcomes- it’s been pervasive, these lost hopes and dreams- physical, vocational, social, familial, situational- what we’ve hoped for and what’s reality have not meshed and it’s been hard to come to terms with. As I lay awake this morning at 0’dark:30, trying to manage the pain in my leg, and the worry in my head about the pain in my leg among other things, I had a revelation. That laying down our life, means giving up every right to any outcome. Oy vey, that’s a hard word. If I lay down my rights, give them up, relinquish them completely, and yet still do the work, the hard thing, the serving, then I have truly become a follower of Christ. Christ is calling us to the total relinquishment to our rights- including our rightful, worked for outcomes.
What is truly compelling, to me anyway, about someone like Mother Theresa is that she gave up her rights and lived with joy amidst squalor, filth and disease- she washed the diseased and dying, the truly wretched. She fed those whose lives weren’t worth saving. She raised money, and garnered support to wash the feet of those not worthy. She laid down her life. And for what? Did she produce anything of substance or value? Not really. She cared for the outcast, eased the suffering and pain of the oppressed, gave mercy to the impoverished, a refreshing drink to the thirsty. She treated a person, no matter how dirty, insignificant, diseased, small, or wretched, with mercy. She did this with no thought of outcome. No thought of gain. And as a not so aside aside, I consider Gosnell , particularly in light of Mother Teresa and pray for mercy on his soul- he’s going to need it; in the economy of heaven, he has sinned erroneously.True confessions, I’m an outcome oriented person. I calculate risk and I’ll take big risks at times but I hope for a large return on whatever investment I’m making. But the reality is that if we do anything, anything, out of obedience to Christ, there is no guarantee on the return of our investment. We may serve, to have our hospitality scorned, teach to have students revile education, love to be dishonored, work to never accomplish our hopes, build to watch things torn down. And yet, to love our lives is to lose them.
“If you don’t go all the way with me, through thick and thin, you don’t deserve me. If your first concern is to look after yourself, you’ll never find yourself. But if you forget about yourself and look to me, you’ll find both yourself and me." Matthew 10:39 The Message (MSG)
The paradoxical gospel comforts and exhorts me in the midst of hardship and pain and demands that I give up my outcome based hopes for whatever He gives.