|by Rubel Shelly
There are some weird ideas floating out there about spirituality that discourage and damage people. And I'm not just talking about the ones that involve drinking Kool Aid from a washtub or walking barefoot on hot coals.
The fundamental mistake most of us make is to think that "being spiritual" is a rapturous state of mind or unique lifestyle reserved for the elite. Correct me if I'm wrong, but the Bible appears to envision a spiritual life for everyone who wears the name of Christ. Godliness is supposed to be the norm. And Christians are supposed to be saints all the time - not two generations after their funerals.
Let me tell you about a few genuinely spiritual people I know.
Evelyn suffers incredible pain from bone cancer, but you'd never know it. She is one of the most cheerful, loving, and gentle souls on Planet Earth. Though she suffers constantly, there is no self-pity in her life. And she loves the Cubs!
Gene is probably the most generous man I know. He is a dynamo of energy. He works hard. He makes tons of money. Then gives about 40% of his net income to help various good works. He and his wife have a special bank account that their 11-year-old daughter gets to "manage" for helping missionaries.
Nancy is a wonderful mom. She invests her heart, body, and daily schedule in the development of her three kids. She gets them to ballgames. Bandages their scraped knees. Makes sure they complete homework. Her daughter and two sons are among the most loved and secure kids in the world.
Spirituality is about where you are today.
David loves his wife. He is unquestionably faithful to her. He calls her once in a while when he is between appointments just to say, "I love you!" Once or twice a week, he leaves a card or scribbled note for her to find during her daily routine. It'll say something like "Can't wait to see you tonight. I love you!"
Spirituality is not the ability to live in the desert for 60 years. It isn't living above the mundane and ordinary stuff of life. It isn't a mystical feeling or pious face. It isn't reading the Bible all the time or getting up to pray for two hours every morning before the sun comes up.
Spirituality is about where you are today. It is a way of life that honors commitments, behaves with integrity, accepts people the way they are, and is generous. It is exhibited by going to work, changing diapers, fixing meals, cutting grass, being self-controlled in traffic, and showing patience to unpleasant people.
God is honored best in the everyday and ordinary things of your life.
I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. (Romans 12:1-2 NRS)
© 2005, Rubel Shelly From Rubel Shelly's "FAX of Life" printed each Tuesday. See Faith Matters for previous issues of the "FAX of Life."
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