Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The only life worth living

What would it mean if we truly tried to live? What is the only true life?

Jesus gives us grace. Most people understand this concept - for the most part. I think we can all think of examples where this isn't true, but generally, this is understood. I actually think this concept is misused, because we use "grace" as an excuse to continue in our sins, knowing that Christ loves us unconditionally and will forgive us.

While such grace is truly the only thing that can save us, the only thing that makes us worth anything, and surely, we are all the prodigal Son and the elder brother who can never ever earn our way into full relationship with our Father, what is grace worth if there is never a response? And that is what our lives have become! Self-indulgent lives that lean back on "grace" and never count the cost.

Bonhoeffer said that "grace is costly because it calls us to follow, and it is grace because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ. It is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life."

Think of an activist who believed that we should not be supporting big corporations. Now imagine such activist shopping at Starbucks, Wal-Mart, GAP, buying Coca-Cola and Kraft products, and living the high life on fast foods. I think we would all say that he is no activist at all. Even more blatant, imagine an anti-poverty activist who had never even met the poor, never donated to or served at a food bank or drop-in, living the high life in a million-dollar mansion in Hollywood. What do you think of such a person?

The life worth living is the one that aligns itself in full with its faith, and with the grace of the gospel. And this grace is not free - we are bought at a price, and we are called to likewise pick up our own cross to follow Christ. If we cannot count the cost, then we are not living.

I'm tired of discussing things. We do that so much. We do that in class, we do that with friends, we do that at fancy charity dinner parties, we do that on Sunday mornings. That's great for a time, but if all we ever do is discuss ideas and thoughts, then nothing ever gets done. We are only sending our voices to a wind until it eventually dissipates into nothingness.

We just need to live. Truly live. Struggle, hurt, love, weep with someone whose just lost a friend or been hurt. I want to be poor. I want to live with the poor. I want to know what it is to take up the cross of Jesus and truly suffer like He did. I want to stand up for myself instead of trying to please people. I want to live as if I was living for no one else but God. I want to love a child and watch them grow up and see and understand the world, to see good and evil, and strive towards the very best good. I want to cry and dance and dream and share and be present.

The only life worth living is the one that costs us our life.

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