Monday, July 23, 2012

Getting By

Friends of Faith:

This past Saturday, I heard the eulogy of a man who had suffered a long and serious illness and was praised because he never said, or did, “just enough to get by” either during his illness or by the life he lived before he got sick. His story was the story of a man who ministered to others, changing lives not only in his church but also in the small community where he was active as a coach. He clearly had a reputation of a man WHO GAVE ALL he had for God’s glory, not just enough to “get by” for his own satisfaction.
It made me think about how many things I do just well enough to “get by.” And about how many chances I have been given to learn how to give it my all; to learn and to do and to understand the full truth from God, that everything we have and everything we do, we do for Him, not for ourselves.

“Whatever you do, do from the heart, as for the Lord and not for others, knowing that you will receive from the Lord the due payment of the inheritance; be slaves of the Lord Christ.” Col 3: 23-24
Are we doing EVERYTHING for the Lord, from our hearts?

Or are we doing “just enough to get by”, out of obligation, or to justify ourselves so that we are not to blame?
Whether it is our parents when we are young; our teachers and coaches when we are in school; our bosses when we go to work; our spouse, marriage and home; or even God—do we do enough to just get by with them, or do we do it because we love them, from our hearts, knowing that even if “people” don’t appreciate what we do—the Lord will give us our due because we were a slave to Jesus Christ, because we LOVED like Jesus Christ!

Did we as children, or do we as parents, teach our children that they only have to do enough to get the treat or the outcome they desire? Do we teach them that they have to pick up their room, or clean their plate, or look us in the eye when they say they are sorry; or do we let them get by with less?

Do our children learn in school only enough so they can get the desired test score, or an “A?” Or do we ask them to learn more than what will just make a grade, so that they are curious enough to want to understand the whys and the how of putting the theory into practice?
Do we listen to coaches who ask us to repeat “perfect practice” over and over, or do we complain that we have “done the skill enough times—let’s just play.” If we “just get by” and learn the basics but fail to continue to work the basics then who is to blame when we don’t make the team, win the game, or get an Olympic gold?

Do I do “just enough” at work to get a paycheck and complete a task? Or do I do extra to help the customer fulfill his/her needs and offer to stay late to help the boss fix the underlying problem? Do I expect to be rewarded for my every deed or do I find satisfaction just by knowing that the job was done right?
Do I do “just enough” for my spouse so that I can say “I told you so,” or “I did that last week, but you didn’t even notice?” Or do I do what he/she needs, without expecting gratitude or reward, finding joy and peace in knowing that I have chosen to do something out of love.

Do I say I believe in God, but only attend church when I want to? Do I say I am “a good person” but only help a friend in need when it is convenient? Do I tell little white lies because they won’t hurt anyone; or speak angry words because it’s what I see as the truth, or look at sexually explicit TV shows and R rated movies because everyone else is watching.
Am I just “doing enough” to make me feel like I am obeying the commandments of do I listen to the secular lies that “it didn’t hurt anything,” I only “hurt myself,” “no one else will know,” or “I’ll just say I’m sorry and God will forgive me?”

True peace and joy isn’t received by “getting by.” “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Keep on doing what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me. Then the God of peace will be with you.” Phil 4:8-9
Who and What is our God? Am I listening and believing the real truth? Do I find strength and zeal, peace and joy, through the Eucharist and by doing the Works of Mercy which Christ called me to do or am I “just getting by” by saying I’m a good person and I believe?

Do I only pray when it’s convenient for me or when I need something? Or do I pray as St. Paul instructed me to pray: “With all prayer and supplication, pray at every opportunity in the Spirit. Eph 6:18.
Heavenly Father, All glory is thru you. Thank you for giving us your son, Jesus, who, thru His death on the cross, showed us how to give without just “getting by.” Help me to always follow His example and the examples of those like my friend who persevered in their faith by doing what was right, even when it was difficult.  Help me to give more than “just enough to get by.” Amen.

In what part of my life am I doing only “enough to get by,” out of obligation, and without real generosity and love?
Give God your all this week,


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