I had a wonderful conversation with a friend of mine recently that really made me stop and think about how I see my faith life. He pointed out that most people are “consumers of God” and like most consumers, there are different price brackets.
Then there is the opposite extreme, the Tiffany consumers. For the Tiffany consumers, that same relationship with God comes at a very dear price. They evaluate and re-evaluate their choices in life. They examine every setback and every trial trying to determine its worth in God’s eyes. Their version of heaven is a lofty goal that must be reached through living lives of near perfection. Every mistake is a glaring black mark on the most permanent of permanent records. There are some who secretly fear that this pricey relationship is out of their reach.
So where do I fit in? After giving myself a little time to consider both options I realized that I don’t fit into either category. I fall into a third category – the soup kitchen. I know I have nothing worthy to offer my God and yet I know I am welcome anyway. And I come to be fed at His table. I come because I am hungry for His love and starving for His mercy. There is no demand to fix what very little I have to offer because Jesus has already paid the price for me. I will eat my fill and whatever mistakes I make are already forgiven because He loves me so much.
God is not a commodity that can be bartered, bought, or sold. God is my life’s breath and the only thing God wants is to love me. His love is the only love that can truly satisfy me and thus allows me be more loving with others, even my enemies. Will I get that loving my enemies thing right all the time? Not even close. And that’s okay too.
Think about your own kids and how much you love them. Remember those times when they screwed up or made choices you knew weren’t good ones? Did you love them any less? Of course not.
Being in a relationship with God isn’t about getting it right or shaping up. And most important, it isn’t about later on after death. It’s about right now. The Holy Spirit resides in every one of us – that is God. He isn’t out there in space somewhere sipping a peppermint latte and waiting for us with a report card of our lives. He’s right here, right now, loving us and desiring only to have a cup of coffee and talk about life. And not in some formal, flowery prose written by some saint 500 years ago but just a chat between very dear friends. It isn’t about Him being in a position of power over us, rather it is about being in a relationship of communion, co-union with Him. As for the afterlife, that is the ultimate conversation with God, when we will see Him face to face and our own human faults will fall away. Jesus paid the way for all of us and threw open the doors of heaven to all. All God desires is a real, honest relationship with all of His children.
So when it comes to God – are you still shopping around or are you ready to accept the free gift of His love?
Thanks to R. for the inspiring conversation!