Friday, February 1, 2013

Why God Does Not Love Us All The Same

     Once I heard a catechist telling people that a person might have a calling to be a plumber. From his perspective a calling was defined in terms of service that people can perform for the Church and others. Even though there is some truth in the catechist’s words it’s not accurate to only define a calling on the terms of what services we can perform. If we do define calling in this way there is often the temptation that the person with the lesser service would feel unimportant. For example, when was last time we invited the Christian plumber over for dinner over the bishop? Obviously, one is considered richer in terms of their services over the other. However, a proper understanding of calling begins and ends with each person and not from what they can or can’t do but from what they can be to God.
     Where I believe the catechist was going in their teaching was in helping people to understand a vocation. It is true that we all have different skills and they allow us to contribute in different ways to society and the Church. In addition, through the sacraments we have all been given different spiritual gifts that contribute to the salvation of others. As the scripture says, “Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good (1cor. 12:7)”. From this perspective not only can a person be naturally gifted, as a plumber, but also they may have supernatural gifts that allows for them to perhaps change the world. This is important for us to realize because God has trusted us each personally with something very powerful. Sometimes we may not know what we have been given and this is why the scripture teaches us to seek after gifts (1cor 12:31). You never know --you might find yourself healing people of cancer, giving the blind sight, or even converting thousands to Jesus Christ. It’s up to us to discover what gifts we have and in what state of life we can best serve our God.
     It is true that each of us has personally been given gifts. However, even in finding our gifts our individual call by God can be missed. In fact, sometimes people have been so good at using their gifts that God becomes neglected. Just look at Judas he was given the powerful gift of being one of the 12 but despite this he betrayed the Lord. I don’t think I have to mention the many scandals that we see in Church history where people have been good at serving but later where to have been found to be utterly corrupt. In this the scripture says that God does not take back His gifts or calling from people (Rom. 11:29). Consequently, people can abuse their places in the Church since the gifts are theirs. Also, God does not take back his calling for even if these people mess up they can return to what God is calling them to. This is where we can find that the essence of a calling becomes profoundly personal and in a sense that only the individual and no other can fulfill it.
     Sometimes it’s easy to look at God and say that he loves us all the same and because of this we are all called by Him. From this approach some people have understood their calling in terms of being just another person in a crowd of people loved by God. Consequently, what they might fail to do in loving God they believe some other person will make up. From this mentality I have heard people say: that was for the saints or that’s in a priest or monks life and not for me. However, God might love us all but He loves us all differently and without measure. His love is so profound for each one of us that He even has given all of us a secret name known only to Him (Rev. 2:17). In addition, He has called us in such a way that only we can love Him in a way that is unique to each of us. For just as God does not love us all in the same way each of us loves Him in a way that no other can. As a result, what we fail to do in loving God no other can replace and when it comes to using our gifts based on this love you might be the only hope for people to experience the love God.
     As far as a calling is understood it is to the extent of discovering how God has called us to love Him. You could even say that to some degree God has made Himself dependent upon our love. He has no need for our love but has trusted us and gifted us in such a way that our love means everything to Him. Not only does our love have this value to God but to all those whom God brings to us. For there are those around us that are dependent upon our love to the extent that if we don’t love them they might never know who God is. It’s a powerful reality to know what we are to God and to understand that He loves us all in unique and extremely personal way. You could even say that His love is so extreme that if we were the only person in the world that needed salvation Christ would come for us. True He loves us all but each in a special way known only to Him.

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