Dear Fathers, Friends in Christ,
My trust is in you, O Lord. (Psalm 31:15)
What do you worry about? Health? Safety? Job security? Finances? Your children? We all have our lists. The world has no problem telling us how to handle these worries. It tells us to tackle the situation by working harder, getting extra training, buying better insurance, or figuring out how to influence people. It offers very self-oriented, self-focused responses that place our efforts and our fears at the forefront of our minds.
This kind of response seems to be at work in today’s Gospel reading. James and John are concerned about their future. Jesus has been talking about how he will be mocked, scourged, and crucified. What will that mean for these disciples? So they work with their mother to develop a long-term career plan. Now the mother and her sons ask Jesus to approve their proposal for James and John to be Jesus’ main men in his kingdom. While they seem to be doubling down on their commitment to Jesus, their real motives are self-centered.
Jesus takes this opportunity to remind all of the disciples that this isn’t his path. His is the path of humility, surrender, and trust. It’s the path of self-giving, not of self-protection. God doesn’t want us promoting our own interests. He wants us to follow his way of sacrificial love and to trust that he will care for our needs.
The problem with such a self-oriented approach is that it makes our worries our top priority and reduces our life with God to something we can tend to only in our free time. But Jesus is the most important One! As we reorder our lives to reflect the values of his kingdom, we find that our cares and worries lose their all-encompassing nature. We become more confident that God will care for us.
So what’s worrying you today? Are you trying to take care of it yourself? Or are you praying Psalm 31? Hand your destiny, your safety, your family over to the Lord. If you’re having trouble letting go, try to focus on Jesus’ love for you instead of whatever is causing anxiety. Ask him how you can imitate his love more fully, and let him take care of everything else.
“Lord, I trust you. Teach me how to live in your love.”
Father Ed Bakker
Anglican Catholic Church / Original Province
Mission of Saint Aidan of Lindisfarne