15 January, Friday — Delayed obedience is disobedience

Jan 15 — Friday of Week 1 in Ordinary Time

Heb 4:1-5, 11
Mk 2:1-12

Seeing their faith…

That which we have faith in gives us the ability to ‘act immediately’. A parent, a teacher, a priest, a policeman, a boss, a commander are positions that usually make most everyone ‘act immediately’. Why? Because we have ‘faith’ that we will be punished, flunk, lose a job, get a ticket, go to hell…right? I am sure many of us acted as soon as our mother or father called our name, and certainly when they gave instruction. I could sometimes pretend I didn’t hear my Mom, or request another 10 minutes, but when my Dad spoke, I was at attention! My father has since passed, but even in my 50s, I immediately rose to my Dad’s voice. As a child, I did so out of a healthy fear of not wanting to get in trouble. As I grew into an adult and moved away from home, it was out of respect. 

Time and time again, throughout scripture, we read the importance of acting IMMEDIATELY when Jesus speaks. In Mark’s gospel today, we read of the cleansed leper who chooses not to immediately do what Jesus tells him, and instead does what his human nature tells him to do first. When we don’t immediately act upon the direction, the word of Christ, things can quickly go from great to terrible. Why? Because we leave the door open for the enemy to fly in and whisper in our ear. 

The devil knows he has multiple opportunities to interrupt God’s work from the time we received the word to the time we allow it to guide our behavior. A cynical heart or a distracted mind can prevent the word from ever taking root. Delayed obedience is disobedience. 

Those words paint a picture for me that literally gives me chills. The aches and pains of life that I chose, that God didn’t desire for me, because I chose to delay, or even discard, action and behaviour He requested of me.  I don’t see myself as having a cynical heart, but a distracted mind, that is me. And the enemy knows my faults and weaknesses, and preys upon them with whisperings in my ear, “you don’t have to do that right now,  do this instead, go here instead, you’re tired anyway, it’s not your job, they won’t appreciate it anyway, they won’t miss it/you, it’s not a big deal, you can do it tomorrow…”.

When my behaviour reflects a person pursing Christ, I hear Him, even gentle whispers, plainly. When my behaviour reflects a person wrapped up in this world, wrapped up in myself, His voice is muffled at best, and sometimes I don’t even try to hear Him.  

Here in the middle of this first week of ordinary time, I am choosing to wrap myself up in Him so that I will hear Him, will immediately act and live in an extraordinary way in this time.

(Today’s Oxygen by Gina Ulicny)

Prayer: Our only safety is in You and even though we know that, we close our ears at times. Lord, we ask that you speak with loudness when we are absorbed in the noise of this world and our flesh, so that we can hear you and run back to You. 

Thanksgiving: Father God, how beautiful and filled with love your voice is in all the ways you speak to us. 

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