Thursday, February 28, 2008

FOR or OF

I watched part of a video of John Wimber last night and he said that at one point he realised he was working for God instead of doing the work of God. Those two little words started ruminating in my inner being while I was driving downtown: "for" and "of."

FOR is when you thrust part of who you are towards someone, hoping for a response or a change or an interaction or at the very least some acknowledgement. FOR is an attempt to connect, wanting to set things in motion, to make things better for yourself and others.

OF is different because it stems from an identity, the essence of someone or something, and the very nature of the person's character makes the action or word an extension of the being - effortless, natural, pure, and part of the whole. The action cannot be separated from the essence; if one IS love then one will naturally love. The action does not change depending on the response. The action happens because it is the very nature of their character.

I can make a meal FOR someone, offer kind words FOR encouragement, study hard FOR a good mark, work long hours FOR my boss, live FOR God, pray FOR God to intervene, give generously FOR a good cause, or offer my time FOR serving the poor.

Or I can eat OF Christ (remember the last supper), embrace the encouragement OF God to his children, learn OF God and his ways, do the work OF God, let the life OF Jesus live in me, agree with the plans and purposes OF God, trust and act knowing that the resources OF God are always enough, and see the needy through the eyes OF Jesus.

The first (FOR) is my attempt at living a good life, pleasing a God whom I cannot quite touch, moving in my own effort toward those things that I have identified as good and noble, and if I am honest, the results are always slightly disappointing to me at the end of the day, for no one ever responds with as much vigour as I would like them to in response to my efforts. Things that begin with me pretty much end with me as well.

The second (OF) places me in an entirely different position. I am in Christ, I am part of his body. I am family and the family traits just pop out even when I don't think about them. The effort comes not in setting things into motion, but in staying close, in listening, in embracing everything He is, and in not wandering away or shutting myself off from this divine and mysterious umbilical lifeline that has no beginning and no end.

We are children OF God.

This is the ever restful beach of Cayo Santa Maria.

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