“As soon as one is conscious of the presence of the Master, one must in all passivity, abandon the work to Him.”
The novice piano student knows better than to push the Teacher’s fingers aside. The apprentice carpenter stands back to allow the Craftsman to create. The clay gives itself to the Potter. The child welcomes the gentle direction of the Parent. But, too often the spiritual pilgrim stumbles and strives out of a sense of duty and personal responsibility. We act as if the journey was up to us. We set the best course we can and collect the reserves of our strength. We bump and ricochet hoping to get somewhere we should be – somewhere we want to be. Too often, we wind up exhausted down a side trail that leads to a dead end. All the while Jesus whispers, “Just follow Me.”
For years, my soul was led by a sense of responsibility. The Christian life was mine to achieve. I did what the pulpit told me to do. I paced with the community of faith – many just like me – all of us trying to build something godly with our lives. The intent was right. The sense of responsibility was admirable. But I am not equipped for the task. It is beyond me. I cannot shape my soul any more than I could save my soul. I need the Master for both. I am not suggesting that there is no responsibility in Christianity. Obviously there is much. But, my responsibility is to give myself to the Master. That’s what I did at the beginning of this faith walk. That’s what I ought to do day by day. (Rom 12:1 again!)
But still today, I often I downshift to the “I can do it!” attitude. I try to rebuild my broken places. I grow my own fruit of soul. I head out in the direction and pace that makes sense to me. I dictate my own mission. All of this may be well intentioned, but it is the work of a child. A lopsided birdhouse. A clump of clay that pretends to be a vase. A crayon portrait that has no resemblance to what is beautiful and real. I hand these to the Master to impress and please. By grace, He reaches to my efforts and whispers, “Do you want help with that?”
Tauler says that when the Master shows up – just let go. Receive the work of His Spirit. Stand on the grace of His Son. Rest in the arms of the Father. Abandon the work of your soul to Him. Let God be God. We will marvel at what the Master can build.