Bob went to see his primary doctor the other day, and at this visit there was a concern raised about a lump that developed since the last visit. The lump was located under his arm. The doctor said that he should have that removed and then have a biopsy done.
So Bob got scheduled in with a skin doctor as soon as possible. The lump was removed, and of course the biopsy followed. He was not happy to hear that he would have to wait at least a week for the results. Bob found the waiting very difficult. And his mind was going a mile a minute. What would the result be? Did he have cancer, or was this just fatty tissue? Every time the phone would ring he would jump. Bob found himself very distracted. He started thinking what chemotherapy would be like, and how this would effect his schedule. Would he feel sick from the treatments? Then he would stop and say that he was getting ahead of himself. He just wanted to know what the results were, and that he was going to be alright.
Living with uncertainty can have a very negative effect on us. When our lives are shaken up or we see things happening in the world around us we can become filled with fear. Everything we counted on or needed—-our security—-seems like it is now up for grabs. We waste many hours of our life trying to think our way through these kinds of situations. But we soon realize that our “thinking” is really an attempt to control, that we are trying to prepare ourselves for the worst case scenario in the hope that nothing bad at all will happen. Not a nice way to feel or live. And God help our family, friends and co-workers while we are in such a state! Our edginess is certainly apparent to them.
I think Jesus is offering wonderful wisdom and a way of looking at life that can be a help to us as we go through the uncertainty of life. Probably one of the best things we can do when we are worried about something, or anticipating a decision that will have a profound effect in our lives, is to do our best to take the focus off ourselves. That is not easy to do, but Christ, in the vivid imagery of Matthew 25 gives us a new vision.
We are being asked to learn NOT to center everything on ourselves as if our desires or worries are the only important matters in life. Rather, we should look around us and see the needs of those less fortunate. We should love our neighbor as ourselves and help those in need. Christ says that this is the way to salvation.
Now I’m not suggesting that we should reach out to help those in need just so we can escape our own problems, as if we were tuning in to a daytime soap so that we can feel better about ourselves thinking: that person or those people are a lot worse off than I am. Although the other person’s situation can put our own in proper perspective. And engaging in charitable works does force us to stop being too wrapped in our own lives and problems.
We can be changed. We can be moved from thinking life is all about getting our routines in place, or having our comfort level protected, or staying angry because our prayers weren’t answered the way we thought they should be answered. Despite our own weakness, we can bring hope to someone else.
“Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty?” Were we too caught up in ourselves to notice? Did we see that Christ was in those people too? So, stop the “naval gazing”. Don’t let the uncertainties of life hold you prisoner. Let Christ draw you out of yourself to help those in need. The end result is a blessing for the poor, and a healing for us as well!