Sometimes we hear from that cartoon devil on our shoulder, “Why Bother?” Why bother with trying to be a better person, why bother with discipleship, why bother with our fellow man? The past is ancient history and the future is going to be a disaster. There is a lot of fun out there to be had enjoy and leave seriousness and discipline to the boring.” I like to call this the grasshopper philosophy from Aesop’s fable of the ant and the grasshopper.
There is another voice we hear from time to time, that suggests that we must suffer to be alive. The voice tries to guilt us into doing good, and suggests that we alone are selected to everlasting glory if we will only follow strict tenants of a certain religion or philosophy. Selectivity is the carrot that is tangled in front of these mules who plow the fields enriching those with the whip, and a life of exhaustion and pain is their lot. The mule is to plow straight ahead listening to the commands of his master never questioning or doubting. Even doubt can lose your place in the group of the select, the voice whispers. I call this the mule philosophy.
There is third voice that recognizes life is a struggle at times and unmitigated joy at others, sometimes at the same time. We strive for perfection and excellence knowing each day we won’t make it, but we “begin again” the next day. We confront injustice, making sure our actions always embrace compassion. We go about our day with the modesty and patience of the Saints. This is the voice of those who know that everyone’s life’s journey is not a sprint but a very long race full of detours, hills and valleys, temptations and doubts, but in the end is worth living.
There will be times we listen to and follow all three voices, but I hope for all us that we learn eventually that winter always comes to the grasshopper, being a mule is slavery to a false God, and only the third voice offers completion and authenticity.
As you begin the week ask your self which voice am I listening to these days?