A friend of mine was asking some questions and speaking of his desire to do what God says and speaking of his seeming lack of actual desire to do it, and I posted a response that seemed more directed at my own life than his…so I am going to share it here because maybe there is someone else who needs to hear it too…
Working in a hospital environment like I do tends to make me sort of calloused to the needs of others. Every single day, I go to my dead-end job of parking people’s cars, and every day I see people who’s loved ones are dying or who’s children are suffering from various cancers or men who can no longer speak and have one of those little electronic voice boxes that makes them sound like that robot at the beginning of the Beastie Boys song “Intergalactic,” and, more often than not, I don’t give a damn. I want to care, but more often than not, I just don’t.
Or at least that is what I used to think.
For the summer, we hired on a 20 year old college student who was the daughter of one of the laziest workers we have. But this girl had a heart bigger than she could handle. A 16 year old boy was in a car accident and was on life support. The family came every day for two weeks and she built a relationship with them. When the boy died, she could not recompose herself and dry her tears all day. A man came in with a different one of his five daughters every day due to some internal problems. They were doing tests and prepping him for surgery. The doctors opened him up, and found his insides consumed with a cancer the tests couldn’t detect. He was given two weeks. We never saw him again. She cried.
I think most Christians are insulated from the world around them in much the same way as non-Christians. Cancer, hunger, poverty kill most people inside, so we put up buffers between us and those problems and choose, rather, to debate politics and theology and who the best baseball team is. And, in an ironic twist, we watch reality TV to escape reality.
Maybe I am saying all of this more for myself than for you, but we minister unto the world by living as Jesus did. And we can, and should, do this in our middle-class and dead-end jobs. We can have as many Bible studies and prayer groups and worship sessions and Sunday services and Christian books as we want, but if that doesn’t translate into (even flawed) actions, then it is all a waste and is worthy of being flushed with the rest of our daily crap. The Prophets stated it, in God’s Name, as a question: Why do you call Me “Lord, Lord” but don’t do what I tell you?