When we first took our cat to the vet, he told us to keep her nails clipped. Mowgli, our half-feral kitten who had come galloping out of a patchy swamp in the country woods, was affectionate but not cooperative. Call it her independent streak or chalk it up to her wild roots, but anytime we approached her with the nail clippers, she would turn her sharp claws against us. If we picked her up, she thrashed until we let go. If we snuck up on her, she darted away.
“Just wait till she’s asleep,” the vet suggested, and I tried my best not to laugh until we left his office. We were never successful in trimming her nails, and we have the shredded stairway carpet to prove it!
What Jesus calls us to do
When we bring a pet into our home, we are signing on for some responsibility. We agree to feed it, give it shelter, show it affection, take care of its medical needs. When we decide to follow Jesus, we also accept some responsibility. Far from being in a checklist sort of way, or from a legalistic or moralistic framework, I’m talking about our roles as ambassadors for him (1 Cor. 5:20). There’s a reason Jesus doesn’t whisk us off to heaven immediately upon deciding to follow him.
“Christ has no body now but yours. No hands, no feet on earth but yours. Yours are the eyes through which he looks compassion on this world. Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good. Yours are the hands, yours are the feet, yours are the eyes, you are his body. Christ has no body on earth but yours.”St. Teresa of Avila
We live our lives with a purpose. We are to make disciples – Jesus’ parting instructions to us – as his ambassadors here on earth. And we don’t follow his command in order to earn our salvation, but rather we serve out of the overflow of our love for God and our love for others. It makes all the difference to serve from a place of love rather than a sense of obligation. It’s the difference between wholeness and burnout, between a joyful heart and a resentful one.
Although each of us is called to live out the love of Jesus to further his kingdom, we are all placed in a different setting, with different abilities, interests, talents, and gifts.
Mission : Possible
Where are you right now? What kind of season are you living through? Are you thick in the mommy trenches, wiping counters and bottoms? Are you in the throes of your career, your workplace as your mission field? Are you retired, suddenly with much more time on your hands?
God has not asked you to do an impossible task, like cutting the claws of a wild cat.
“Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another.” – 1 John 4:11
Our responsibility in following Jesus is to love God and love others. He has equipped us to do the good works he has prepared for us to do. More than that, he has given us his Holy Spirit so that we are never without help, comfort, and guidance.