What Are You Living For?

fighting-kidsRead Genesis 4.

The point I want to think about form this text is that God is worthy of our worship. As the God who gives and grants life, He is worthy of our best. But the problem is that we are selfish. Like Cain, we promote ourselves. And we give to God and our families some of what we have to offer. We try to promote ourselves w/ the least amount of effort possible. I was at a coffee shop this week and overheard several people tell the barista: “Don’t work too hard.” Do you ever say that? Personally I would prefer if the barista worked hard, so I can enjoy a good product. What are we bringing forth w/ our work/time? God is worthy of our worship, our best. This includes our efforts of formal worship, but also our interactions w/ family and coworkers. It includes the effort we put into work and relationships.

Our God is the God who gives and grants life. He gives purpose and fulfillment in it. So the question is: What are you living for? And how are you living for it? The great Catholic thinker, Thomas Merton said: If you want to identify me, ask me not where I live, or what I like to eat, or how I comb my hair, but ask me what I am living for, in detail, ask me what I think is keeping me from living fully for the thing I want to live for. So what are you living for? How are you living for it?

There is a story involving Yogi Berra, the well-known catcher for the New York Yankees, and Hank Aaron, who at that time was the chief power hitter for the Milwaukee Braves. The 2 teams were playing in the World Series, and as usual Yogi was keeping up his ceaseless chatter, intended to pep up his teammates on the one hand, and distract the Milwaukee batters on the other. As Hank Aaron came to the plate, Yogi tried to distract him by saying: Henry, you are holding the bat wrong. You are supposed to hold it so you can read the trademark. Aaron did not say anything, but when the next pitch came he hit it into the left-field bleachers. After rounding the bases and tagging up at home plate, Aaron looked at Yogi Berra and said: I didn’t come up here to read.[1] Hank Aaron knew what he was there to do. What about you? What are you living for? And how are you living for it?

I believe giving our best pleases God and brings fulfillment. We saw this w/ Abel, as he brought his best before God from his work and purpose. Our God is worthy of our worship, and of our best. He is the giver of life and purpose. As we look at this passage, this is not a message for you to feel bad about, how you might have missed the mark in the past, or how you might feel more like Cain than Abel. No. This passage is an invitation to thrive in what God has you doing. Its an invitation worship Him out of a purpose filled life. Its an invitation to bring your best before the God of grace, in worship and in your family and at work. So may we hear this grace filled invitation. And, may we bring our best w/ what is before us this week and this season.

[1]  J. M. Boice, Learning to Lead, Revell, 1990, p. 38.

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