It’s time for a dinner party. Out comes the shopping list filled with disposable items… napkins, cups, plates, cutlery…. Well it sure does make the cleaning up afterward easier. However I do have to admit, it takes the joy out of being a good hostess. Presentation truly makes a difference. The various dishes with the finishing touch of appealing garnish served in attractive dishes… Co-ordinated crockery placed with sparkling cutlery alongside with cloth napkins in pretty napkin rings… It truly is inviting and a pleasure to any eye.
‘Practicality’ and ‘efficiency’ takes over our lives today… Being rational defines our lives. We become more and more task oriented while becoming less and less people oriented. If we can ‘fit in’ people into our busy schedules of our rat race lifestyles, then we slot them in. More often than not, these people who are ‘privileged’ to be accommodated by us are those who can prove to benefit us or those who help achieve our goals or those whose schedules can comply with ours. We accommodate people as long as OUR schedules are not disrupted and OUR plans not affected.
The disposable mentality creeps into our relationships with one another. When we find no more use for someone or when our comfort zone is being threatened or when no longer convenient, we tend to kick people out of our lives… Often we find when we have finally got rid of someone who is a tad overbearing, another person who is even more overbearing than the other enters our life. God certainly has a sense of humour.
He uses people to refine us like gold goes through fire. Running away from the ‘test’ isn’t going to help us learn the lesson that the Greatest Teacher has for us. Culture, tradition, peoples’ expectations… all enable us to make excuses to get away. Besides we forget that the two greatest commandments are about RELATIONSHIPS – with God and with the people God has placed on our paths. They are not about achievements or careers. It all boils down to people. If we are primarily task oriented at the expense of being people oriented, then we need to do a reality check at God’s Feet.
I think of David. He was taken to Saul’s palace and was successful in all he did. In fact, he was so successful that Saul became envious of David. Initially David eluded Saul for example when Saul hurled the spear at David (1 Samuel 18:10-11). However, in these same verses we read that, “an evil spirit from God came forcefully upon Saul”. Envy turned into violence to the extent that at some point in time David had to run away from the palace to safeguard his life. Despite Saul needing David, jealousy took over… David knew the time when he it was dangerous for him to stay put.
Not only do we dispose people, we also more often than not dispose God when it doesn’t suit us… The saga of David and Saul was a consequence of the people of Israel doing just that. They were not content with being directly under God’s rule but rather requested Samuel to anoint a king over them just like the other nations (1 Samuel 8:19). The LORD told Samuel that it was the LORD Himself that the people had rejected (1 Samuel 8:7).
Opting to host a party with crockery and cutlery with the final touches is definitely hard work, but one to remember. It surely makes people feel special and is a well needed ‘relaxation time’ for the guests. It is an act of love and helps build up sincere strong relationships. An atmosphere of disposable products could possibly be reflective of what is happening in one’s life. Taking the easy way out saves a lot of trouble and perhaps time and energy… However, we may also miss out on something more substantial and rewarding in the process. Imagine throwing out a piece of coal considering it to be worthless only to realise someone else picked it up and spent time to painfully chip it to reveal the glittering precious diamond.
Next time you consider throwing someone or God out of your life, do think twice and do it prayerfully… Is it a necessity to do so – is it a life threatening or an abusive situation? Or is it because the relationship (I’m referring here to a relationship as in with people around us as opposed to the special relationship of a marriage partner) is coming in the way of your plans and goals or is demanding you to step out of your comfort zone perhaps in a rather sacrificial way?
What would God’s will be for you in this situation? Could it be that He is trying to chip off the coal coating off you and bring out the precious diamond in you?
Love is a decision, not a feeling…
We are commanded to love – it is not an option.