Do More Than The Minimum

21 Mar

“The command to love and serve — not merely tolerate — each other requires more commitment and sacrifice than we care to give, and so we do the polite minimum from afar. The seasons of Lent and Easter bring thoughts of surrender and sacrifice.”  ~ Nana Dolce

One of my favorite Peanuts cartoons pictures a completely frustrated Linus shouting, “I love mankind.  It’s people I can’t stand!”  That, I believe, sums up the dilemma that all of us have at one time or another when it comes to adhering to the commandments.

It would be so easy if we could:
1.  Pick and choose which commandments we were going to follow
2. Decide toward which people our adherence of the commandments would apply

But it’s not that easy. God’s commands are global in nature. He has the best for all people in mind, not just some subset of humanity.

If we could pick and choose, there would most likely be so many people who were left out.  We would share our blessings with some, not all.  We would care about some people, not all.  We would make sure that some, not all, were blessed.

“I love mankind.  It’s people I can’t stand!”  We need to remember that we are called to love all people, to embrace all people, to desire the good for all people.  After all, Jesus reminded us that God does the same.  God makes the sun shine on the bad and the good.  God pours down the rain on the just and the unjust.  In doing so, God leaves it up to all people to respond to His blessings and love.

That, I truly believe, is a major difference between God and us.  God leaves everything open to the response of others.  We, on the other hand, are more prone to tie strings around what we do thus forcing a response.  We do not like to share with some if we are not going to get something out of it, even if it is just a thank you.

We love conditionally.  God loves unconditionally.  God doesn’t attach strings to His love.  God doesn’t force a response.  He freely loves.  He freely gives.  He allows us to do what we will with what He gives to us.

To apply that same level of love frustrates us because our human nature wants response. It wants reciprocity.  It wants to attach conditions.  When we do that, we cannot love as God truly wants us to do.  Lent challenges us to change our way of life and the manner in which we love.  Love unconditionally and let God work through our actions.

FAITH ACTION:  Go all in on your Lenten resolutions today, giving yourself completely to God and to others.