Grace to you!
Drawing from the Lord’s message in Matthew 7:12-14, I reflect on the blessings of not taking shortcuts in life.
Standardized tests are tricky. In my opinion, they are the best, as well as the worst of assessments. One could easily have a perfect score or score a zero. A careless mistake, an opportunity for an A is blown. Completely.
I recall when I was preparing for the GRE test. One of the caveats in taking the Math part of the examination was being careful not to jump to conclusions and choose a particular answer that seems correct at face value.
Those who design the tests are shrewd. They throw in answers that, at face value, look like the correct answers, but they aren't. My instructor advised, "The first answer that jumps out at you, even before you start solving the problem, is likely wrong."
There is wisdom in the old English idiom: “Not all that glitters is gold.”
A friend wanted to buy the latest iPhone. After a series of Internet searches, he found a fabulous discount through an online company. The discounted price was almost two-thirds less than the Apple price for the product. He placed the order right away.
Two weeks passed, he didn't receive the phone. By the end of the two weeks, he got an email notification that the seller has canceled his order and that his money refunded.
One may say, "Well, they didn't take my money." It is a polite way of looking at it, though naïve. In the current online marketing environment, your information is worth more than a single sale. They took something of far more value than the money for the iPhone, I suppose.
They took his convenience. He waited for two weeks and didn't have the phone. It was frustrating to be in the dark for those two weeks.
More seriously, they took all his information—credit card details, address, phone number, email, etc. Who knows where his information is now? They may have been sold to third party marketers.
Not all that glitters is gold. You see that glittering opportunity. It’s irresistible. Very inviting. Tantalizing. It seems you have it before you even worked for it. Be cautious.
Did it come too easy? Ironically, it's often unsustainable. Things that come through hard work endure.
When they say, inventors stumble into a discovery; it doesn't mean they while away the time as the invention shows up right at their door. It is in the process of hours of research, thinking, hard work; series of trials and errors, that the surprising discovery emerges.
You wouldn't presume the so-called 10,000-hour rule for a world-class level of performance popularized by Malcolm Gladwell is easy. Despite objections to this rule, it's pretty common sense that in life, nothing comes on the sofa of comfort except momentary satisfaction. Substantial accomplishment comes through sacrifices and hard work.
This principle isn't simply social, cultural, and educational. It is, more importantly, spiritual. In reality, the Creator ingrained in the DNA of nature this natural law of things. Namely, what one sows shapes what one reaps.
Speaking of the ultimate blessing, which is salvation (beatific vision), the Lord Jesus declares the following. "Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. The gate is narrow, and the way is hard, leading to life, and those who find it are few" (Mt 7:13-14).
The closer one is to the cross, the closer to blessedness. Farther away one is from the cross, the closer to ruined opportunities. So, get up and get to work. Or rather, keep working. Keep sacrificing. Invest in time, and time will invest in you.
I am praying for the grace of smart and hard work plus commitment to follow through. Amen.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
[Tuesday, Week 12, Ordinary Time: 2 Kings 19:9b-11, 14, 21, 31-35a, 36; Matthew 7:6, 12-14]
Author and Goal
Father Maurice Emelu PhD., provides a daily blog of reflections based on the Scriptural readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. The goal is to teach, inspire, encourage, and foster healing through the grace of God's word. They are written in a language that is appropriate for a general audience. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration, and developing your thoughts. They may also be useful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.