When discussing discernment and vocation we frequently talk about “God’s will” and then go through a discernment process to come to a final decision. But the language of “God’s will” seems to allude that we have little say in the matter. Yet God gives us great freedom to make life choices, big and small.
The best advice comes from a scene in The Sound of Music after Maria returns to the abbey as she tries to avoid falling in love with Captain von Trapp. The Mother Abbess encourages her to explore the possibility of marriage. But Maria seemed so set on religious life; that’s where she first thought God wanted her to be. Mother Abbess says to her, “You have a great capacity to love. You must find out how God wants you to spend your love.”
The Bible is full of spending imagery. You’ve got the Parable of the Talents and the Parable of the Lost Coin. Jesus’ call to go out into the world and share the Good News is about reflecting the love of God into the world. We are asked to spend God’s love and therefore spend ourselves. God’s love becomes a currency, ready to be spent in the world.
In the Parable of the Lost Coin Jesus explains that God is like a woman who lost a coin and pulls apart her entire house to find that coin, even though it doesn’t seem to be worth much. God seeks us out when we are lost. In this parable, we become God’s money!
In the Parable of the Talents Jesus alludes to the importance of investing what has been given to you. Here the currency is what we’ve been given and we’re asked to invest it in a way that creates a return. The servants in the parable had full control and freedom in how they could spend the money.
The question for us is: How are we spending ourselves in the world and how are we allowing God to spend us?
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Music by Kevin MacLeod