Based in St. Cloud, Minnesota, Growing in Grace is a blog by Pastor Matthew Molesky. His posts explore the Bible, theology, ecclesiology, culture, books, family, and life.

How Shall I Live

flannery-oconnor3.jpg

How can I live - how shall I live.

Obviously the only way to live right is to give up everything. But I have no vocation & maybe that is wrong anyway. But how [to] eliminate this picky fish bone kind of way I do things - I want so to love God all the way. At the same time I want all the things that seem opposed to it - I want to be a fine writer. Any success will tend to swell my head - unconsciously even.

If I ever do get to be a fine writer, it will not be because I am a fine writer but because God has given me credit for a few of the things He kindly wrote for me.

Right at present this does not seem to be His policy. I can't write a thing. But I'll continue to try - that is the point. And at every dry point, I will be reminded Who is doing the work when it is done & Who is not doing it at that moment. Right now I wonder if God will ever do any more writing for me. He has promised His grace; I am not so sure about the other. Perhaps I have not been thankful enough for what has gone before.

(A Prayer Journal, by Flannery O'Connor, p. 23, entry dated November 6, 1946; paragraphing and formatting mine.)

As I read through Ms. O'Connor's prayers, I am deeply moved and instructed. This portion of a prayer in particular has been rummaging around my heart, upending things.

I, too, so deeply want to love God - All. The. Way.

And she has discovered that in order to "love God all the way," humility in her vocation must be worked out, so that any success in her vocation will not keep her from loving God all the way, for "...at the same time I want all the things that seem opposed to [loving God]." She is dismayed at how easily success as a writer will "tend to swell" her head, "unconsciously even."

Her antidote for such thinking, in her life's calling, her vocation as writer, is astonishing.

If I ever do get to be a fine writer, it will not be because I am a fine writer but because God has given me credit for a few of the things He kindly wrote for me.

A few of the things he kindly wrote for me.

Paul said it this way,

What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it? (1 Corinthians 4:7, ESV)

This is the pride-killer for all of us in our life's calling. As a pastor, and preacher - if I ever do get to be a fine preacher, it will not be because I am a fine preacher, but because God has given me credit for a few of the sermons he kindly wrote for me. Period.

If you ever get to be a fine insurance agent,

business owner,

architect,

engineer,

teacher,

saleswoman,

nurse,

doctor,

stay-at-home mom,

or mechanic,

it will be because God gave you credit for a few of the things he did for you.

What do you have that you did not receive? And, since you have received it, why do you boast about it?

God Still Reigns in Heaven

The One on the Throne Said...

0