Saturday, May 20, 2017

Aspirations


Have you ever noticed how inconsequential the aspirations of others can seem? I was talking to a man who restored a 1957 Chevy. He spent hours turning screws and playing with fenders. In the big picture I wonder if that is more meaningful than a toddler playing mechanic. But, consider how important it seemed to him.


I told that man I liked to write. He might have thought spending hours in front of a computer moving my fingers was as meaningless as a toddler playing a xylophone. But, it seems dramatically important to me.


My wife and I dream of building a house in the country. In my mind it is monumental and essential. I could spend five hours a day looking at pictures of houses and floor plans. Imagine a NASA engineer who cannot pull themselves away from their work, or figure skater who makes their routine their life.


Our work and aspirations probably seem more important to us than they are in reality. This is not to say they are meaningless. Since we were created by God, what we do cannot be without meaning and consequence.


God made us to strive, progress, survive and produce. God does give us aspirations and tell us not to aspire. God gives us important and sacred work. Yet, God did not make so our work and aspirations are so critical they make or break our lives. This is good news for the figure skater who falls and the NASA engineer who has their lifework blow up on Mars. God's works stand untouched if the figure skater falls and the spacecraft explodes.


Jesus talked a lot about being consumed by aspirations and having too much zeal for trivial materials and matters, like floor plans and ’57 Chevys. He said being fixated on those things- as if they make or break us- is stupid. Why? Because 1) Building our life on them is as impractical and foolish as a person who built a house on sand, and 2) Even at the pinnacle of human achievement we do not come close to what God has accomplished for us in Jesus.


Jesus has something direct to say to me about aspiring to build a house, to the engineer, the obsessed ’57 Chevy restorer and the anxious ice skater. He says, “Tone it down. Look to me. I carry the load. Be thankful. I am your rest and salvation. Everything but me in moderation. Your work and aspirations can be insatiable. I alone satiate. Humans shall not live by their aspirations and accomplishments alone.”