“Moses asked Aaron, ‘What did this people ever do to you that you should lead them into such a grave sin?’ Aaron replied, ‘Let not my lord be angry. You know well enough how prone the people are to evil. They said to me, ‘Make us a god to be our leader, as for the man Moses who brought us out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has happened to him.’ So I told them, ‘Let anyone who has gold jewelry take it off.’ They gave it o me, and I threw it into the fire, and this calf came out…’” -Exodus 32:21-14
Really? He threw the gold in the fire and the calf just ‘came out’? Gina and I try to take some time to pray in the morning while it’s still quiet. We use a resource that has Scripture readings and this was the first reading one day a couple of weeks ago. When we got to the section above, I found myself smiling and shaking my head.
The truth is, in my life and I’m willing to bet in yours, things rarely “just happen”. However, when we’re not comfortable admitting to the truth of a situation to acknowledging the role we have played in an unfortunate, hurtful or sinful situation, part of the human tendency is to make a claim similar to that of Aaron: “I just threw the gold in and… you may not believe this… but out came this calf! Crazy, huh?!” I am not sure about you, but I can certainly think of times when a claim like this one was the best defense/explanation I could muster. I am sure that embarrassment, guilt and refusal to take responsibility all played a role in me offering this type of explanation. Today I strive hard not to resort to “all of a sudden…” explanations. Today I seek to name and own my thoughts and actions. I do not always get it right, but I strive to live this way.
One sign of growing in wisdom and in our own spiritual journey is that we can, with eyes wide open, look at a situation and see where it began – often times deep inside with a nurtured thought or idea. A wise professor I had in Seminary liked to quote one of his Seminary professors who taught students: “Sow a thought, reap an idea. Sow an idea, reap a plan. Sow a plan, reap an action. Sow an action, reap a habit. Sow a habit, reap a character.”
We would do well to pray for the grace to look at our own thoughts, ideas and plans and see how these lead to actions, habits and lives.