Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world ablaze.
– St. Catherine of Sienna
My daughter asked me to help her with an extra credit project for her History class. She had all the ideas trapped in her head, and some scribbled on paper but in the interest of time, she wanted me to type what she was thinking and saying. Her History teacher puts quotes on the board in the classroom so the assignment was to choose three from the list and write about each one. They were to identify from among the three which one was their favorite and explain how it had impacted them. The above quote from Catherine of Sienna was her favorite. I enjoyed listening to her talk about all the possibilities as she read quote after quote from her planner. I thought it was a cool assignment!
It was funny that she picked the one she did because it has been a favorite of mine for a long time but I had never mentioned that to her. I was very curious to see why she had picked that one as her favorite. From her seventeen-year-old point of view, it meant courage and worrying more about what was right instead of what was popular.
To her it meant trying to work past the distractions in her teenage world that might lead her away from what was pleasing to God. In her words it was about trying to figure out who God meant for her to be rather than who the world thought she should be. The whole “set the world ablaze” part baffled her so she decided at this point she was just hoping to be a spark working her way toward a blaze.
We live in a pretty self-serving society. The notion of self-sacrifice has gotten a little lost and it’s our job to reclaim it. All too often, we make decisions based on what’s best for me…what fits best in my plan and my schedule.
The problem with that is we only know a small slice of the big picture. God is the one who holds the blueprint to our life. He’s the one we should be seeking and His plan is the one we should be consulting.
Because we live in a small, town Dave and I are invited to lots of graduation parties, weddings and celebrations. It’s always fun to go and help great young adults ring in the next phase of their journey through life. My advice to each of them is the same; ask God what the plan is…ask Him often if you are doing what He put you here to do. We are very good at asking kids what they want to be when they grow up, what we don’t always ask them if they have invited God into that decision. We need to do that if we want the young adults we love to set the world ablaze.
While we’re busy encouraging these young believers to be what GOD wants them to be rather than what the WORLD says they should be, we would probably do well to ask ourselves how we’re doing in that department.
Do we slug through each day doing what is required to make it to the days end, or do we wake up each day ready to see Christ in others and be Christ to others? We might be tempted to believe we work in a job that doesn’t pay enough or appreciate us or we may have to work with people who are lazy, difficult or negative. If that’s the case, how are we supposed to believe that’s what God meant for us?
Here’s a thought…Blessed Mother Teresa did the most difficult work I can imagine for no pay serving people who had no means to do anything for her yet she did it with more joy than you could imagine.
I’m not suggesting that in order to live up to St. Catherine’s challenge we have to start rescuing the destitute and bring them into the living room, I’m saying we need to begin each day asking God to show us exactly what He would have us do THIS day.
Don’t worry about tonight or tomorrow or next week…start with today and ask Him to take up residence in your heart and show you what He wants from you. Ask the Holy Spirit to give you the right words for each person you meet. Ask Him to forgive you in advance for everything you’re going to mess up today and give you the grace of humility and joy. Ask Him to help you swallow the words you shouldn’t speak and serve others more than you think you can. Ask Him to help you see Him in everyone you meet today. That’s what St. Catherine meant when she described being what God meant you to be.
You can be sure that if that’s the way you live your day, it doesn’t matter if you are a janitor, lawyer, doctor, teacher , secretary or the CEO of a fortune 500 company, you will start a blaze and I’d be willing to bet it’s gonna spread!
A Seed To Plant: Begin each day this week with the words; “Lord, show me who You want me to be, may I go through this day seeking more of YOU and less of me.” So…what’s the first thing you’re going to do to set the world ablaze?
Blessings on your day!
Copyright 2013 Sheri Wohlfert