Thursday, March 24, 2016

Don’t Wait Until You Retire

There is a story about an American cabbie on vacation in Greece. The cabbie has worked many hours for many weeks earning his vacation and is very much looking forward to spending a couple weeks relaxing in the Greek splendor he has heard so much about. Upon arriving in Greece he finds himself on a street corner in Athens surrounded by dozens of cafes filled with cabbies, their cabs all parked along the sidewalk. The American cabbie walks around asking to hire a cab, and is greeted continually with, “I’m sorry I’m done for the day.” Finally he asks one driver why he is finished driving for the day since it is only NOON. The driver says, “I’ve made enough money for today and I am enjoying the rest of day in the cafe with my friends.” The American cabbie is shocked and asks, “But why not keep working to earn more money? In America we work long days so we can eventually retire and enjoy vacations.” “And what would I do on vacation?” asks the Greek cabbie. “You could sit and enjoy the cafe with your friends.” Laughing, the Greek cabbie says, “I’M ALREADY DOING THAT!”

In America we tend to focus so completely on building wealth, we are blind to what is available to us in the present. Of course, since this is a Daily Lenten Journey post, you can imagine I’m not going to speak about sitting in the cafe in Greece. What is right in front of you today is your salvation. You don’t have to wait until you are elderly and approaching death to work on your soul’s relationship with God. Great Lent offers a prime opportunity to dedicate extra time in your building your soul.
Proverbs 6:3-20 - Then do this, my son, and save yourself, for you have come into your neighbor's power: go, hasten, and importune your neighbor.  Give your eyes no sleep and your eyelids no slumber; save yourself like a gazelle from the hunter, like a bird from the hand of the fowler. Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise.  Without having any chief, officer or ruler, she prepares her food in summer, and gathers her sustenance in harvest.  How long will you lie there, O sluggard? When will you arise from your sleep?  A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, and poverty will come upon you like a vagabond, and want like an armed man.  A worthless person, a wicked man, goes about with crooked speech, winks with his eyes, scrapes with his feet, points with his finger, with perverted heart devises evil, continually sowing discord; therefore calamity will come upon him suddenly; in a moment he will be broken beyond healing. There are six things which the LORD hates, seven which are an abomination to him:  haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and a man who sows discord among brothers.  My son, keep your father's commandment, and forsake not your mother's teaching.
In today’s readings from Proverbs we see what the Lord has to say about spiritual laziness. There is plenty of inspiration to get off the couch and “find a job” in our society, but hardly any effort to encourage you to wake your soul from sleep and build up your relationship with God. The American cabbie could just have encountered a Church filled with drivers rather than a cafe during Great Lent. Don’t wait until you retire to spend time with God. Take advantage of Great Lent NOW and “save yourself” and follow the Lord.

Get up from your spiritual couch and go to Church.  Tomorrow is the Feast of the Annunciation of the Theotokos, when the Church commemorates the Archangel Gabriel’s Good News to the Panagia that she would bear God. Make plans TODAY to spend some time in Church tomorrow. Don’t wait until you retire. It may be too late!

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