“Work hard and good things will come your way.” This type of work ethic was instilled in me since childhood. My parents worked hard and it was expected of me to do the same. It seemed like there was always work to do and it still seems that way. I look around and see leaves which need to be raked, laundry to be done, and there is always reading to do for school or a piece of artwork to be completed for a job. I am sure you have your own list of things which need to be done. So many of us are preparing our yards for a hopefully mild Pennsylvania winter, preparing our homes for the holidays, preparing for another work week, etc etc etc.
In today’s gospel reading (Luke 21: 5-19) the Lord tells us to not prepare to defend ourselves in the event others attack us for following Him. “I myself shall give you a wisdom in speaking.” Not preparing for conflicts is something which goes against basic logic especially for those of us with a solid work ethic built into us since childhood. We have learned to always be prepared and if you are a boy scout being prepared is your motto. Today, Jesus is asking us to trust in Him and not go overboard in preparing.
I think Jesus wants us to work, study, and be ready but in the end let Him have the reigns. This is hard for perfectionists who want to be in control. St Pio is well known for having said, “pray, hope, and don’t worry.” Using this format, I say we need to work hard, have faith, and trust God will do the rest. It is hard to learn when to say, “I’ve done enough” but it is a skill we must acquire. The very last line in today’s gospel reading tells us we need to persevere. One could easily say this contradicts the earlier statement to not prepare but Jesus is really telling us to persevere in trusting Him.
One very good way to follow the advice in today’s reading is to practice the art of Sabbath keeping. It is not just for our Jewish brothers and sisters but something all of us need to do for our mental, emotional and physical well-being. I can highly recommend a book on Sabbath keeping written by Marva J. Dawn, “Keeping the Sabbath Wholly: Ceasing, Resting, Embracing, Feasting”. I’ll warn you right now, it won’t be an easy thing to do but if you take the challenge I promise a transforming experience. Dawn teaches how to put trust and perseverance into action which results in a life filled with peace and a greater awareness of God’s providential care. I am going to revisit the practice. If you want to join me, get in touch and we can support one another in our weekly adventure of Sabbath keeping.
Sabbath Blessings to all of you!