Sunday, January 23, 2011

Is the easy road the low road?

On the radio, they are advertising opportunities for believers to get involved in the community.  They've created a website where people can list needs and sign up to meet them.  I think it's a great idea.  If other people's churches are like mine, they're more likely to find something they can do to help on this website than they are to find opportunities in their churches.

The emphasis in the radio ads is on the words easy and convenient.  During one such ad, I heard in my mind the voice of David vowing, "I refuse to make a sacrifice to the Lord my God that costs me nothing."

Setting aside context for now, shouldn't believers be doing things to help even though/because they aren't easy?  As believers, we aren't called to do the easy helpful things but the hard ones, right?


Just because it's easy to help, does that mean it's wrong?  Or that it doesn't count?  Count for (or against) what?  More than/less than what?

And what about people like me who are physically and mentally limited in what we can actually do?  Should we avoid the easy things and save up ourselves for the hard things that are not good for our health and are difficult?  But what if nothing sufficiently hard yet doable ever comes along?  Will we have wasted something?  Is it better to spend whatever that something is as we go, even on easy things, even if we may not have enough when something hard we want to tackle arises?  Is there some kind of scorecard here?  A scoring system?

Back to context.
  I think that particular David line came after he decided to do a census (even though God had warned there would be consequences for such a thing and even though Joab reminded him of that and told him not to) and after God gave David three calamities to choose from as his punishment (I want to say a certain amount of time of plague, a certain number of people dying, or a certain something being attacked by enemies or something) and after the calamity of choice had begun when David was doing his darnedest to appease the wrath of God in order to end with a lower body count. 

David found the right place to build an altar, and the owner tried to just give him the land.  David was adamant about paying an extravagant price for it.  I've heard opinions that it was just a cultural bargaining thing, and maybe it was because David's sin had already cost him plenty, but I guess I also feel like that was David's philosophy.  Sometimes he did things the hard way because it was the right way (even if there were other choices).  He only took shortcuts when he sinned, I guess . . .

Any thoughts about the easy road and guilt and pointless, self-generated confusion?


  1. I think we need to be committed to doing whatever God asks us to, hard or easy, and then choose where to get involved based on what most needs to be done. It obviously makes sense to be organized about it and get people involved where they can do the most good; but rather than advertising it as easy, I'd be inclined to advertise it as being a good fit for your gifts/abilities and thus joyful & fulfilling.

  2. Nicely said. That book I'm reading also made me think about this problem in American Christianity where we act as if we think our comfort is our goal and God's will for us.

    To be fair, the ad did mention that there were other opportunities for anything that fit your sweet spot, but the emphasis was still definitely on convenience and doing what makes you happy. As if life were somehow about our happiness . . .