Thursday, October 02, 2008

I don't want to consider the Lilies

(What follows are some random thoughts for the Contemplative Service this Sunday)

Matt 6: 28-30 says "And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? "

I've been reflecting on this passage for a few weeks now and thinking about Solomon. He was the 'Golden Boy' of Israel, wealthy, intelligent, good looking a cross between Harrison Ford and Bill Gates. He brought in wealth, ran elaborate building projects including building the First Temple, had great relations with foreign countries and apparently had a fashion sense that rivals Vera Wang and Michael Kors.

Trouble is, good fashion sense is not very high on my list of priorities. I don't have a particular desire to wander around dressed like Solomon, and even though I work for a church, biblical garb is neither expected or desired. So I've been wondering how I would rewrite the passage to make it more attractive for me.

Maybe instead of dressing like Solomon it could read:

'Compose like Sondheim'
'Cook like Bobby Flay'
'Design games like Reiner Knizia'
'Write books like Terry Pratchett'

My list could go on and on detailing people I want to look like, sing like, play music like, think like and earn like.

Who would be on your list?

Making a list like this - although an interesting exercise, is ultimately depressing. It shows my passions, but it also highlights my limits. I'm never going to play piano like Jelly Roll Morton or lift weights like Charles Atlas. In the midst of desiring to be healthy, slimmer and more gifted I need to remember that God will 'clothe me'. He doesn't dress me in a Solomon costume, but calls me to be uniquely me. I'm not supposed to compose music like Sondheim, my call is to compose music like Peter Johns. I'm not designed to cook food like Bobby Flay, I am designed to cook food like Peter Johns. I am not supposed to live, look like or act like anyone else but me - and be me with my flaws, faults and failings.

God calls me to celebrate the unique giftings He has given me and to stop comparing. Underneath comparison is worry. Worry that I'm not good enough, slim enough, fast enough, talented enough, creative enough etc.

Into our worry and comparison Jesus says 'Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?....Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.'

So I will try and give my list of names over to God. I'll thank him for the gifts and the limitations that make me unique.

1 comment:

Network Geek said...

Well, I can't speak to anything but the writing... It's frustrating, for sure. I think writers start out emulating their heroes before they find their own voice. I used to try to write like Larry Niven, or Hemingway, or Lovecraft, or Frank Herbert, or some combination of those writers. But, in the end, it's our own voice that moves people, whether that's to tears or for payment, though, is out of our hands.

I think the hardest thing in the world is to be original and comfortable with that. It's far, far safer to be like someone who's already paved the way. Being the first takes courage. A courage I'm not sure I posses. But, I believe in your courageous heart, Mr. Johns. I believe you could do almost anything you set your mind to doing. If you want it bad enough.