Saturday, February 11, 2017

Go Nowhere Except Where I tell You

I read a book a few years ago which has helped me, even though the book is not a spiritual book, to confirm just how serious our spiritual warfare is for our times. In the book, “Generation Me” the author details her understanding about social trends in America today. She writes from within the generation about which she evaluates. I personally recommend the book. It came to my mind today in connection to today’s Gospel Reading:
Matthew 10:1, 5-8 (RSV) - At that time, Jesus called to him his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every infirmity.  These twelve Jesus sent out, charging them, "Go nowhere among the Gentiles, and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.  And preach as you go, saying, 'The kingdom of heaven is at hand.'  Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons.  You received without paying, give without pay."
There is a portion of the book in which the author comments that even our so-called service hours, so much of which is mandated by school during formative years, is self-serving to the point that I would suggest brings no spiritual benefit at all. If in our service to others we only serve where WE WANT to serve, then we are quite frankly being served rather than serving.

When you consider that Christ commanded the disciples “Go nowhere...[except where I tell you]” He is reminding us that when it is only when we serve truly sacrificially that we gain any spiritual benefit. God knows who is prepared to hear His words and who will reject them. God knows who is willing to follow Him and who will walk away.

Where does that leave us today at the end of the first week of the Triodion? Great Lent will only be a blessing to us if we are able to get over ourselves. Tomorrow we will hear the Parable of the Prodigal Son. It was only when the Prodigal Son finally got over himself that he was able to return and be welcomed back by the father. It was exactly because the so-called loyal son couldn’t get over himself that he was unable to experience the blessings of the Father.

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