And Yet I Have Been Perfict

Matthew 5:38-48  – The 7th Sunday after Epiphany – for Sunday, February 23, 2014

“Be perfect therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48)

perfection1Jesus said . . . Be perfect therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Perfect.

Perfect. Perfect. Perfect! Perfect?

How often have I heard (or spoken) a statement like, “Such a perfect sunset?” (Insert meal, beach, child, drink, gift, date, prayer, touchdown, moment, sermon and a never-ending list of other words for sunset.)

“If you look for perfection, you’ll never be content,” Leo Tolstoy said in Anna Karenina.

“Have no fear of perfection, you’ll never reach it,” said Salvador Dali.

“I am careful not to confuse excellence with perfection. Excellence, I can reach for; perfection is God’s business,” said Michael J. Fox.

Why not invite the unlikely trio of writer Leo Tolstoy, artist Salvador Dali and actor Michael J. Fox into the conversation! Jesus said, be perfect, like God. Does that mean, ala Mr. Tolstoy, we’ll never be content in our faith? Does that mean, thank you Mr. Dali, we’ll never reach perfection . . . and therefore never “reach” God? Does that mean, according to Mr. Fox, we’re focused on the wrong search, questing for divine perfection when we should settle for human excellence? Continue reading →

3 Questions

I read a children’s book, inspired by a Leo Tolstoy short story, that wondered: What are the three most important questions?

I think of Leo Tolstoy, who wrote “War and Peace” and “Anna Karenina,” as a writer of lengthy, complex novels. However he could not only write the grand epic spanning many characters and generations, but a brief to-the-point short story. Here are Tolstoy’s three questions:

When is the right time to do something?
Who is the most important person?
What is the right thing to do?

I think those questions are breathtaking. However, asking these questions is often easier than answering them. And yet, if we do try to ask and answer them at the decision points of our life, we will likely deepen our faith.

If you think about the great accounts of the Bible that give us insight into people who struggled mightily with their faith, these three questions often influenced their decisions and actions. Continue reading →