Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

When Not To Do Good

It struck me recently that one of the things I have a great deal of trouble with is distinguishing between, "X would be a good thing to do" and "I should do X". There are a great many things which it would be virtuous for one to do. However, one cannot do them all. And this is where I run into trouble.

With sufficient time and determination, one can take on nearly any responsibility and do it justice. But if you take on too many, some or all suffer. Sometimes the distinction is obvious, but often less so.

One considers, of course, all the difficulties and inconveniences that might come with a a new responsibility -- but with enough sermons on the topic of sacrificial giving in one's head it is not always easy to determine the difference between, "This would be really hard, but a good thing to do," and "Danger! Danger, Will Robinson!"

Some of my Protestant friends at work have the tendency to say about nearly any topic, "I just prayed about it, and God told me that I should do X." I'm never sure whether this basically comes down to saying, "I prayed about it for a while and I thought that X might be a good idea," or if they've got a direct line to the Almighty that I'm missing.

God and I, I often feel, are not on quite such confidential terms as some others seem to be. There's a bit in Terry Gilliam's movie Time Bandits where the time traveling dwarves tell Kevin that they work for the Supreme Being.
Kevin: You mean God?
Fidgit: Well, we don't know Him that well. We only work for Him.
I often feel rather the same way. God knows me much better than I know Him. And if our struggles through life are, from that perspective, rather more like the bumblings of the time bandits than Dante's sedate wanderings in the gloomy wood -- well, I wouldn't be surprised.

Which leaves one to wade through decision-making as best one can.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

On the one hand, I've been appalled by many people who claim to hear from God. Pat Robertson comes to mind. And the "Christian" businessman who prays regularly and always seems to hear God telling him to maximize his own profits. And the Pentecostal preacher who says *every Sunday* that "the Lord wants to heal someone here this morning. A sore back, yes, a sore back. You hurt it yesterday, you're in pain right now. You can be healed this morning." (The exact ailment varied from week to week. But it was always something, and the preacher really did mean to convey that God was speaking to him anew each Sunday, right on cue.)

On the other hand, think about what we believe as Christians: 1) There is a God; 2) this God cares about us; 3) indeed, loves us; 4) in fact, loves us so much that He was willing to suffer and die a bloody death to atone for our sins and restore a relationship with us. If you believe all that, then it shouldn't be a much greater stretch to believe that this same God might want to communicate with us on occasion.