We have a mealtime tradition in our house. We eat dessert, but only if everyone gets a membership in the “clean plate club.” This is often motivation to finish off the last serving of vegetables or to push through the last few bites on the plate. The reward at the end is enough encouragement to “press on toward the goal.”
My kids realize that they need healthy food, but they don’t always desire it. Sometimes we all want the prize at the end, rather than the journey to get there. In a similar way, we all need wisdom, even if we don’t always desire it. Wisdom is soundness of judgment, the ability to choose rightly. At times, this can seem to contrast with our modern reliance on our feelings. Do we do what is wise even when it conflicts with our feelings?
And curiously, God doesn’t make us choose. When we choose the wisdom of God, we also feel good about that! Just like when our family finishes our meal, we get the desserts and we find that we actually enjoyed the meal! There is also an earthly prize for wisdom. When we live more fully in Christ’s love, we share more fully in the fruits of the Holy Spirit. Who doesn’t want more love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, chastity, modesty, and generosity in their life? Sign me up! I need more of all of those!
But sometimes the wisdom of the Church still seems foolish to the outside world. Why should we fast during Lent? Why should we spend our time praying? Why should we be kind to people who hurt us? 1 Cor 1:25 states “For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.” God’s ways are not our ways; if they were He would not be God!
We often think of the search for God as a chore, as something that we have to work for. But if we are seeking God, how much more is He seeking us? He sent us His only Son to live and love and die to be with us! God is seeking us more than we are seeking Him! C. S. Lewis calls man’s search for God “like the mouse searching for the cat.” We would be wise to stop running and hiding and rather let Him find us.
We all desire God. Our souls thirst for Him. Our hearts are made after His own, that is, to love. We are born from love and exist for love. It will be a glorious day when we are fully united with love Himself. We hope and wait and long for this day.
And still we find that the more we love here and now, this very moment, the lighter our burdens become. In walking the Christian walk, the greatest pleasure remains for those who gladly choose Him now. Let us be like the wise virgins, living not for ourselves, but for the glory of God.