The choice of faith orients everything in our lives and whether you choose to believe in God or not is anything but a casual concern. The poet Mary Oliver boldly confronts us with the question in her popular poem, The Summer Day, when she writes, “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
Answering her question would at the very least help us to clarify our motives for doing the work we do—What am I doing here? Why do I do this? It might also help us to orient the quality of our work and our working relationships—If I believe I’m living a vocation, a calling to make my life somehow part of God’s work, well then, how am I to do this? How should I proceed? This is the difference between believing that God exists and putting my faith in God, choosing God.
When we implicate ourselves in the choice it starts to get interesting, even dangerous. There is kind of a trap in this, isn’t there? If this isn’t God’s work then why are we doing it? Why would we do it? If it is God’s work, then, to be frank, how could we possibly do it? How could we possibly presume to take even some small responsibility for what God is about in this expansive and incomprehensibly complex universe? When I say that I believe that my work, the small daily work of my small daily life is the work of God people may justifiably begin to detect some nuttiness.
I hear the unspoken question all the time: “The work of God? Who the hell do you think you are?”
But, why wouldn’t we choose God?
More often than not I think it boils down to our begrudging stubbornness that refuses to have a player better than us on the team. I imagine myself out on the hot asphalt of the cul-de-sac where the kids played in my neighborhood growing up. We’re picking teams and the last one standing is God? God is the dejected right fielder? What!?! Wait a minute. Why didn’t we choose that kid sooner? He’s got an arm that can cast down the mighty from their thrones and a glove that lifts up the lowly! Are you serious? This one should be a first round draft pick. We should be trading all of our big money players, all of our giftedness for that one, for theOne. We should risk everything and then put a big number ‘1’ on his jersey. At the very least, it’ll save the team some money on embroidery.
There is a decision to be made. There are players anxious to begin the game. No pressure, but there are lives at stake, your life among them. You are, perhaps to your surprise, the team captain. It’s your turn to choose. So, sometime soon, hopefully before the sun goes down and the streetlights come on and we all have to go home, make your choice. For lack of a better expression and apologies to the atheists out there for whom this will be a confusing request, for the love of God, make a choice!