28 October 2010

What's the Least I Can Do?

That's the question we all tend to roll out of bed asking. What's the least I can do here? What's the minimum requirement? What bar do I have to meet, after which I can do what I want to do?

It's the question Peter asked with respect to forgiveness--what's the least number of times I can forgive before finally having the right to stop forgiving? (Matthew 18:21-35)

It's the question the Pharisees asked with respect to marriage--what's the least excuse I can have for divorcing my wife? (Matthew 19:1-12)

It's the question the rich young man asked with respect to morality--what's the least I can do to have eternal life? (Matthew 19:16-22)

C. S. Lewis insightfully writes:
Our temptation is to look eagerly for the minimum that will be accepted. We are in fact very like honest but reluctant taxpayers. We approve of an income tax in principle. We make our returns truthfully. But we dread a rise in the tax. We are very careful to pay no more than is necessary. And we hope—we very ardently hope—that after we have paid it there will still be enough left to live on. ('A Slip of the Tongue,' in The Weight of Glory [Touchstone 1996], 140).
The alternative?

'But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be added to you.' --Matthew 6:33

'. . . how shall he not also with him graciously give us all things?' --Romans 8:32

Taxpaying obedience is miserable. Quit dividing your time between you and God. Kill your self-preservation instinct. Kill it. Galatians 2:20.

Violent all-out surrender is our only rest; our only real, solid joy.


Anonymous said...

Beautiful. :-)


Phil said...

The last line of this is an absolute gem!