To be acted upon by God is to the Christian as the 7th is to the jazz singer. It’s the money note that resonates long after the song has played out. It is the culmination of all that has come before. For me, to be acted upon by God is the prominent reason for my daily commitment to prayer, meditation, and Bible reading. I cannot be satisfied with ordinary. I crave extraordinary, and extraordinary can, I believe, only be found when the power of God is flowing freely through a life acting as a conductor of God’s grace.
“To life well as a human being is to live in sync with who God is and how God acts.” – Free of Charge (Miroslav Volf)
How does God act? God gives. Generously. Irrespective of whether or not we deserve it. God is present where we are and God continually gives to us all the things and abilities we have – we are receivers of God’s gifts – and yet we can give nothing back to God in return that God does not already possess. What then, do we do with the generosity of God that flows so freely to us when we cannot reciprocate? We pay it forward, echoing God’s generosity one selfless act at a time. It seems so prosaic but it is profound. In our everyday lives as teachers, bankers, janitors, stay at home moms/dads, doctors, plumbers, or dancers, we can, in every gesture, every thought or just by listening well to another be conduits of God’s grace to others.
I, for one, am guilty of expecting the extraordinary moments when God is acting upon my life to be announced with the great fanfare of an overwhelming sense of God’s presence or an unmistakable sense of being led by God’s Spirit. While this can happen, I have found that more often than not, I am unaware that I am in the midst of an extraordinary moment until after it has passed, if even then. Part of the journey of faith is doing our preliminary work of prayer, meditation, hiding God’s word in our hearts and then just living, receiving God’s gifts and paying them forward.
“You sit on your couch, beer or soda in your hand and junk food by your side watching TV for hours – that’s ordinary. You work around the clock not because you have to feed your family, but for no other reason than to park a better car in your garage than your neighbors have – that’s ordinary. You get up from the couch to play with your kids or you give your time and energy to help educate a prisoner or lend an ear to an elderly person – that’s extraordinary. Why? Because you are giving. Every gift breaks the barrier between the sacred and the mundane and floods the mundane.” – Free of Charge (Miroslav Volf).
To be acted upon by God, to participate in the extraordinary, to sing the money note, is the cry of my heart. It is the life force that drives me. It is my best and only response to the generosity of God.
“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” Galatians 2:20