Peeling wallpaper and getting a really huge piece.
Clearing my e-mail in-box so that the amount of e-mails actually fits on my screen.
Yes, these are all things that give me a great amount of satisfaction. Something about clicking “delete” on that last e-mail leaves me feeling powerful and a little more peaceful. While this achievement-oriented thinking is often held up and rewarded in our culture, in Romans we hear a different goal. Instead of striving to get things done our way, instead of “running the parade,” we are called to get in step with God and let Him set the pace.
As a camp counselor at Carol Joy Holling camp, we were required to attend a session at the start of each summer during our two-weeks of training. It was entitled simply, Lutheranism. No matter who taught the class, one image was always emblazoned in my mind, a big arrow pointing down. This arrow symbolized the movement of God.
God acts first.
God comes to us.
We’re not the ones going to Him.
We’re not the ones doing the doing.
Anything that we do is in response.
In a recent Colbert Report, Steven joked in not so many words that if Catholics got rid of all their rules they’d be Lutherans. I wanted to Tweet to Steven that he was seeing the “big arrow pointing down” in Lutheranism too cheaply. If we see the arrow as an, “I’m off the hook” sign, we miss the point. That’s called cheap grace. The point is not that we have nothing to do. The point is that we don’t have to do anything, and that beautifully calls us to act in response, to act in love. So, it’s not bad to want to serve, it’s not bad to use our gifts to “check some things off the list” for Jesus, but I love the wording in the Message for this verse, “God does not respond to what we do, we respond to what God does.”