The liberation in acknowledging we can’t do it all
We see in part, but Your love sees everything.
Blessed Oscar Romero was the inspiration behind one of the first songs penned for Matt Maher’s Saints and Sinners album. The prayer attributed to the bishop and martyr, “A Step along the Way,” ends with the line: “We are prophets of a future not our own.”
“The last line of the prayer is what really struck me,” says Maher. “I thought, That’s what I need. I need a future that doesn’t belong to me. I decided to write a song based on what would happen if somebody read that prayer. What would their response be? The song became a response to the prayer, ‘God, I need a future not my own. I need a future that’s not of my design.’”
The prayer expresses a paradox found in the Christian virtues: the intimate connection between humility and magnanimity. We can do so little by ourselves, but when we recognize our poverty, we give room for the Lord to work through us and accomplish great things, even when that means only planting the seeds in this life.
Mother Teresa, who inspired another of Matt’s songs, echoes the message of Romero’s prayer: “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.
We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of the magnificent enterprise that is God’s work. Nothing we do is complete.
We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that. This enables us to do something, and to do it very well.
It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way, an opportunity for the Lord’s grace to enter and do the rest.
We may never see the end results, but that is the difference between the master builder and the worker.
We are workers, not master builders; ministers, not messiahs.
We are prophets of a future not our own.
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