Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Tuesday 21 September |
The Feast of Saint Matthew the Apostle
home iconSpirituality
line break icon

Would just one lazy Sunday morning and a bit of gossip hurt?

Meg Hunter-Kilmer - published on 06/26/16

The Devil chips away at us, reminding us of what we could have without Jesus

Though young men faint and grow weary, and youths stagger and fall, they that hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on eagles’ wings. They will run and not grow weary, walk and not grow faint. -Isaiah 40:30-31

No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God. – Luke 9:62

When I was a teacher, my most discouraging days often found me remarking, “I spend my life trying to sell an infinitely expensive product to an uninterested audience.” Day in and day out, I’d pour out my life’s blood desperate that these children of God should know his life-changing love. Day after day, it seemed that it made no difference.

Following Jesus can be like that. In the first flush of conversion, you take on the world, vowing to convert a nation or end human trafficking or just (just?) raise holy children. But the life of a Christian isn’t a life of grand gestures, riveting speeches or joyful martyrdoms; it’s a life of little things adding up to something marvelous.

The trouble is, those little things are exhausting.

Most of us imagine we could be martyred, but getting out of bed 5 minutes early to pray just feels like too much. We could preach to a raging sultan, just not to our coworkers. We could forgive our murderers but not the guy who cuts us off in traffic.

So we look back. We have chosen the Cross and we look back at the broad, easy road we left behind. We miss lazy Sunday mornings or guilt-free hookups or gossip or a career uncomplicated by ethics and we wonder: what if? Would it really be so bad? Just this once?

That’s how the Devil gets us: by chipping away at us, reminding us what we could have without Jesus, pointing out just how weary we are and how easy it would be to go back for just one night.

Jesus tells us that looking back means we’re not fit for the kingdom. But every one of us looks back. Maybe we don’t go back, but we look back. We wonder. We’re unfaithful, even if only in our daydreams.

But God is faithful. And he doesn’t expect you to be perfectly dedicated. He expects you to let him sustain you.

Isaiah’s promise here isn’t that we’ll never be tired. If there’s one thing I know about following Jesus, it’s that living for the Lord can be downright exhausting. But there’s a difference between the fatigue of a meaningless life and the fatigue of a hard day’s work. You find both in Christians. But in the former it’s because we’re fighting it all on our own; in the latter, we’re trusting in God.

Maybe if you’ve been tempted recently to give in, to stop fighting for patience or purity or faith, it’s because you’ve been trying to push the plow on your own, forgetting that (if you’ll excused the slightly mixed metaphor) the yoke of Christ is a double yoke, with him pulling beside you. Our strength is renewed not because he bears the whole burden but because he leads and accompanies us. The more we hope in him, the less we’re tempted to look back because we’re not running from what’s behind any more but moving towards the promise he holds out of joy and love and the peace that passes all understanding.

The trouble I had when I was a teacher—the trouble I still have now—is that I’d get so caught up in the soil I was plowing that I forgot about the fruit that field would bear far down the road. And in bending to examine how far I’d come or how successful I’d been or how hard it all was, I’d take my eyes off the goal of loving Christ and being his. Today, let’s put our hands to the plow once more, fix our eyes on him, and begin again.

week23A
week23B
Tags:
LiturgyYear in the Word
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
1
ANMOL RODRIGUEZ
Domitille Farret d'Astiès
Attacked with acid as a baby, Anmol Rodriguez overcomes and inspi...
2
ARGENTINE CHILDREN
Esteban Pittaro
Argentine “Mother Teresa” was a former model and actress who embr...
3
RESURRECTION
Philip Kosloski
Your body is not a “shell” for your spirit
4
Our Lady of La Salette
Philip Kosloski
How Our Lady of La Salette can give us hope in darkness
5
PIER GIORGIO FRASSATI
Cerith Gardiner
12 Habits of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati that every young adult...
6
Visalia CHURCH
J-P Mauro
The largest Catholic parish church in the US will soon be in Cali...
7
PRAY
Philip Kosloski
Pray this Psalm when you successfully recover from an illness
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.