MONDAY MEDITATION: Self-Service Is Evil-Service (April 29)

“And don’t lead us into temptation, but rescue us from the evil one.” — Matthew 6:13

In the typical turbulence of teenhood, I remember very well looking ahead in life and imagining what the world would offer. Money, fun, etc. The future was wide open and, in the optimism (or folly) of youth, I could make of it what I wanted. Before me was a big, open highway with few guardrails.

Of course then I met Jesus and all that changed. The Sermon on the Mount and its counter-cultural, don’t-just-live-for-yourself, message came across loudly and clearly. Taking the audacious step of trusting him, trying to be obedient, meeting fellow disciples, studying/praying/serving: All that shaped those decades of which I had fantasized living my own life by my own standards.

It strikes me that part of the Lord’s Prayer talks about choosing our life’s direction–and who we’re going to follow. Are we going to indulge ourselves without regard for others and bettering the world for them? If so, we’re going to serve “the evil one.” Self-service is evil-service. It’s the cause of fear, violence, oppression, and injustice. It shapes our lifestyle, attitudes, relationships, and politics.

The way of Jesus is the way of thanking God for the gift of life, and letting our priorities show it. It’s celebrating life with the brother/sisterhood of our fellow amazing companions on planet earth. Any time we’re tempted to live for ourselves/by ourselves, we shrink our world and close ourselves to just a few people who think/act like ourselves.

No wonder when we pray the Lord’s Prayer, we’re praying to keep on this path where true fulfillment and happiness lie. We’re also praying to live that life so as to invite new companions. Not by necessarily preaching Jesus, but loving Jesus by truly loving others.

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