By REV. DR. BRIAN GIGEE
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
– Isaiah 55:8-9
I love the line at the end of Robert Earl Keen’s song, ‘Dreadful Selfish Crime’ about how life goes for so many… as he writes this… “One thing I have found there are just two ways to go… It all comes down to livin’ fast or dyin’ slow…
You’d hope there would be more choices than that and even still it seems to me there are always two critical choices. My way OR God’s way. They can be the same way but when you take a good cold hard look at the world it seems most folks prefer their way to God’s. Maybe that’s the dreadful selfish crime REK sings of.
So, what of our living… living in the world of great change? Indeed, there IS God’s way. Indeed, there IS my way. Have we not ever heard or ever said ourselves… ‘it’s my way or the highway…?” There’s some selfishness connected to those words, for sure. What is God’s way? How can I make God’s way my way? Does it even matter? Let me suggest that it does… for in matters of faith… faith matters as everyone believes in something.
Are you a traveler or a settler? It’s not a trick question. There is only one answer. And if you answered, ‘settler,’ you would have not offered up the correct response. We are all travelers. The world was designed that way. Like a flowing stream each one of us is on our way… somewhere… caught up in inevitable change as nothing stays the same… even livin’ fast or dyin’ slow for as soon as we recognize there was a time when we were not here… there will come the time when we will not be here forever. And… what any of us does in the middle of those truths literally makes all the difference in the substance of what we call “life.”
The human condition includes a few realities we cannot ignore… as any journeying people travel via the heart, our minds, and our feet. We are driven by changing circumstances forcing adjustments on the way as well as drawn into the future by our own yearnings and dreams. Mixed loyalties arise. Discernment is required.
As a Christian, I’m a believer in Jesus’ promise to return despite 2000 years of silence. I take comfort and am encouraged by Jesus’ own words from the 12th chapter of Luke’s gospel… “It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. Truly I tell you, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them. It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready…” This was Jesus’ way of letting us know how important we are to him and that we find ways to ‘take care of business…’ the business of caring for the creation and building up the lives of others. Is there even a better way than that?
Any one of us… in the blink of an eye… can fall prey to the ‘dreadful selfish crime’ of being human… dismissing the ways of God and forging our own path while not considering the consequences to those caught up in the collateral damage of our actions. Where I come from, God offers up the higher standard and would point out… ‘that wasn’t your best moment!’ Thanks be to God for second chances! Hurrah!
The faithfulness filter remains simple… “love God… love yourself… love your neighbor…” It takes an effort; and the effort is worth it!
Rev. Dr. Brian K. Gigee is a long-time resident of Pearland, having pastored four churches in Texas and Louisiana over the last four decades. Follow his blog ‘murmurings’ at https://briangigee.wordpress.com/. Your comments and/or questions are always welcomed to [email protected].