This Lenten Season we are on a journey together, a journey of stones. We are talking about a variety of issues that affect our walk with Jesus. Lent is a time for self-reflection, prayer, and reconciliation. It is a chance for each one of us to honestly evaluate the life we are living and how close it matches with the will of God.
The passage from Genesis 2 brings us back to the Ash Wednesday liturgy and the beginning of our Lenten journey. On that day we reflected on the words of the prophets and we were reminded of our beginning as dust to which we will all return one day.
In a way it makes life sound a little messy, doesn’t it? Born from the dirt, human life starts out messy and stays that way throughout our life here. What God gives us is an enormous opportunity to choose how we manage the “mess”. We are given tools and guidance to help us. We need to do our best to learn how to use the tools we’ve been given and we need to try to follow the directions laid out for us.
First of all, many of us have a problem with reading and following instructions. We prefer to figure things out for ourselves and not worry about leftover hardware when the job is done. Secondly, we don’t always use the tools the way they are intended. If you grasp a hammer high up near the head, it will take a very long time to get the nail all the way into the board and your arm will be very tired. When you grasp the hammer by the handle, as intended, you allow the tool to do its work and setting the nail becomes much easier.
God gives us this life to live, but most of the living is truly up to us. I offer the following story as an example of how this works. Enjoy the coffee.
A group of alumni, highly established in their careers, got together to visit their old university professor. Conversation soon turned into complaints about stress in work and life. Offering his guests coffee, the professor went to the kitchen and returned with a large pot of coffee and an assortment of cups – porcelain, plastic, glass, crystal, some plain looking, some expensive, some exquisite – telling them to help themselves to the coffee.
When all the students had a cup of coffee in hand, the professor said: “If you noticed, all the nice looking expensive cups were taken up, leaving behind the plain and cheap ones. While it is but normal for you to want only the best for yourselves, that is the source of your problems and stress. Be assured that the cup itself adds no quality to the coffee in most cases, just more expensive and in some cases even hides what we drink. What all of you really wanted was coffee, not the cup, but you consciously went for the best cups, and then began eyeing each other’s cups.
Now consider this: Life is the coffee, and the jobs, money and position in society are the cups. They are just tools to hold and contain life, and the type of cup we have does not define, nor change the quality of life we live. Sometimes, by concentrating only on the cup, we fail to enjoy the coffee God has provided us.”
God brews the coffee, not the cups…enjoy your coffee.
Sipping a cup of java,