Based on Based on Luke 18:9-14
I’m writing this week’s Meditation on the night when Donald Trump gave his first State of the Union address and when Massachusetts Congressman Joseph Kennedy gave the Democratic response.
I must confess that I didn’t listen to Trump’s entire speech – I’d just had dinner and didn’t want his words to give me heartburn – but I listened to enough to hear “Trump being Trump” – short on words of unity and statesmanship and long on personal praise, half-truths, incendiary language and braggadocio.
Congressman Kennedy’s well delivered speech resounded with me – I admit to my partisan perspective on the two speeches – but I also noted something that went beyond partisan politics – the pronouns used by each speaker. Mr. Trump’s most used pronouns were “I” and “my” as he talked about what he had done and was going to do. Congressman Kennedy’s most used pronoun as he articulated his vision for our nation was “we.”
That minor difference in pronouns reflects a major difference in perspective. Mr. Trump focused on what he and those of like mind planned to do to get their political way. Congressman Kennedy spoke of how all Americans – regardless of party, race, religion, economic status or gender – should be partners in an agenda of shared progress that benefits all people.
Remember that difference as you seek to walk life’s journey and to serve the Lord. Do so in the spirit of an AME Bishop who once said in a sermon, “A person wrapped up in self is a very small package.”
If we only focus on our individual thoughts, ideas, likes, dislikes and desires, then we’ll fail to serve the God Whose Son extended salvation and eternal life to all and Who said – in contradiction to the “conservative evangelicals” of His day who specialized in exclusion – “Whosoever will, let them come.”
When our focus is not on “I” but on “we,” we can serve the Lord, reach out to those cast aside by narrow minded, bigoted, self-serving people and stand up for justice and righteousness.
Let the Spirit of the Living God anoint you with a “we” vision to do God’s will. When you do, God’s light will shine through you, your life will be changed for the better and you’ll realize new personal blessings and well-being without having to chase them and sometimes fail and be disappointed in trying to do so.
You can then rejoice that, in a world where many only focus on “I” and “me” and “mine,” you’ll instead focus on the will of our Creator and walk life’s journey by the words of a hymn of my faith tradition – “Only what you do for Christ will last.”