If you are looking for my blog titled, The Contemplative Catholic Convert, you are at the right spot.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Child or Tool

I posted this a couple of years ago.Over the last few days I've thought of posting it again -- I think the message is of value even in the re-reading. And so, on this Palm Sunday, as we remember Jesus' entry into Jerusalem just before His crucifixion -- and resurrection -- I hope you find it useful.

I am God, and there is no one like Me . . . My purpose will be established, and I will accomplish all My good pleasure (Isaiah 46:9-10).

I can't help but think about Joe and Charles when I read passages like this one from Isaiah.

Forty years ago, Joe and I were best of friends. Although he was married, the father of two daughters, and six years my senior, we were almost inseparable. We worked the same shift at a local taxi company and shared the same interests: drugs, parties and women. After working all day, Joe and I often spent hours cruising the bar districts while his wife and children waited for him to come home.

However, what I remember most about Joe is what I thought of him in my rare reflective moments. His life was a disaster waiting to happen -- and more to the point, I realized unless I changed direction, my life would mirror his.

That realization eventually led me to the navy recruiter’s office. I thought if I learned a job skill in the military, I would avoid the life Joe modeled for me. But during my tour overseas I found something much more valuable in the navy than a job skill.

I found Christ.

When I left Japan three and a half years later, I enrolled in a Bible college. It was there I met Charles, a former missionary and pastor. He taught several of my classes at the college and made the Scriptures come alive for me. But what I remember most about him is not his gift of teaching, but his humility. Nearly four decades later I can still see him in my mmory weeping at a church altar, pleading with God for wisdom to serve Him more fruitfully.

Charles never knew it, but he modeled for me a heart passionate to serve Christ.

I do not know if God used me Joe’s life during those years of our friendship, but God surely used him in mine. As I watched him manipulate and abuse even those closest to him, God gave me a glimpse of my own future if I persisted on that same path.

Nor do I know if God used me in Charles’ life. But God surely used him in mine. If not for my former teacher, my understanding of what it means to truly seek after God might be quite different today. And I might not have learned this important lesson: We have a choice how the almighty and omnipotent God will use each of us for His own purposes – as His tool or as His child, as a Joe or as a Charles.

I know how I want Him to use me.


Holly Michael said...

Very inspiring! Thanks for sharing

Richard Maffeo said...

you're welcome, Holly. Glad you think it useful.

Anonymous said...

I have had both "Joes" and "Charleses" in my life. I hope I am becoming more like the latter. Thank you. -- Rosemary

Richard Maffeo said...

You're welcome, Rosemary.