When I wrote this column I was skeptical about publishing it. I like to be fluffy because in our world today there are so many serious and sad things. For some reason this was on my heart to write. My editor pointed me to this song on youtube by Delbert McClinton. I hadn’t heard it before but it seemed to fit and make what I said a little more lighthearted. I am posting the video at the end of the column. Thanks for your patience.
Something About Nothing by Julie Seedorf – Column from Albert Lea Tribune September 15, 2014
I rarely write about religion and politics. I prefer to stay out of controversial subjects but for some reason as I was struggling with a topic for this week’s column, and reading a morning blessing by Susie Larson, Christian speaker and author, it sparked a thought and it seemed I should write about it.
This thought came to me after reading her morning blessing: What would happen if God became your business? And when I say the word business, it is just that, a business that we throw ourselves into and run, work hard at and takes precedence above other things in our lives.
The words that sparked that thought were these: May your heart of compassion grow for those who suffer in unimaginable ways. May you pray as passionately for them as you do for yourself.
I thought about my prayers. They always seem to be a dash here and a dash there in between my business and other daily activities. I may sit for a few moments in the morning and in the evening and dash out prayers in between, but business usually is a priority. I am in the business now of writing to help support myself. I do what I accuse many institutions of doing: I put finances first and God second.
I get fed along the way during my day by snippets and prayers from Susie Larson and other Christian writers and speakers who speak to my heart. But what would happen if I turned that around and made God my business. What would happen if I worked at prayer as hard as I worked at writing? The thought then crosses my mind that I shouldn’t have to work at prayer. If my mind seems muddled writing this it means I am also having a hard time wrapping my brain around this thought.
Some churches might say that they are in the business of God. Many are, and others may say they are in the business of God, but like me, finances are their business, as the churches are now run as a business and the rest takes second fiddle. What would happen if prayer and God took priority and finances took second place?
We have all heard the stories of being dropped from church rolls because no money had been dropped into a collection plate from an individual in a long time. We have all heard the stories of not being able to participate in an activity in church because it is too expensive. Many churches now are a business, run like a business and certain protocol and traditions that need to be followed take precedence over teaching about prayer and praying. They no longer rely on prayer and God to know that he will provide. They rely on accountants and tax people to keep the doors open.
That may seem harsh, but then I am being harsh on myself, too. My business is important, and so I pay attention. I am focused and not easily distracted. I am able to put other things aside and focus on the priority of making my business a success.
Larson said, “Pray as passionately for others as you do for yourself.”
I don’t know unless I have hit the bottom, if I pray much for myself. Maybe I do in bits and pieces, to help me to do a task. I know I prayed for inspiration for a column this morning and what came to me were the words: What would happen if you made God your business?
I think of my Grandma sitting in a chair by her window always praying the rosary, every day, a couple of times a day. I think of the priority in my family while I was growing up, church, prayer at meals, prayer at bedtime and family prayer. I think of my aunt every night sitting down with her bible for hours, reading and praying. Prayer was a priority no matter what was happening, what TV programs were on or what was taking place on a Sunday morning in the community.
Were their lives better because of it? I don’t know. Was my life better because of it? I think so although at the time I didn’t. There was something grounding about prayer. Perhaps those days’ churches were businesses too like the business my father ran, but I was too young to know.
There is a difference now. Our businesses are social media, sports, jobs that make money to put food on the table and whatever else we work hard at, we are passionate about, and we believe in. We work hard at those things we are passionate about.
We might look at people who indeed make God their business, such as those who write books, speak and influence people lives, with skepticism. Do they get lost in the monetary part of their business and forgot the prayer part, too? We have seen that happen, and we have seen the scams.
Whether you believe in God or a higher power or a different form of religion than Christian, have you asked yourself what would happen if you worked as passionately at prayer as you do at your profession that feeds your family or the hobbies that feed your passion?
If you belong to a church, ask yourself if they are as passionate about prayer as they are about putting money in their coffers?
And then look at yourself, because I think that is what my message while reading Susie Larson’s blessing this morning is possibly about. What would happen if I were as passionate about prayer as I am about my business? If we all asked ourselves that question and pondered it, would the world change for the better?