There have been countless occasions in my life when I’ve heard that God has a plan for my life. Usually, I’m told, this is a good thing. I’m told that God’s plan is the best thing for me and, in fact, is wonderful! My job is to discover what God’s plan is for my life and when I do, I will be glad that I did.
What I’ve heard in these statements is this: “God has a plan that will make you happy.” Yes, I will admit it. When I hear about God’s plan for my life I always believe that God’s plan will somehow affect me in a good way. I will end up being happy, or healthy, or I will finally get the dream of my life, or I will be successful, or popular, or satisfied, or fulfilled.
Then I read this from St. Teresa of Avila:
Your attitude should be like that of a servant when he begins to serve. His care is about pleasing his master in everything. But the master is obliged to provide his servant with food as long as the servant is in the house and serves him, unless the master is so poor that he doesn’t have enough either for himself or for his servant. In our case this isn’t so; the Master always is, and will be, rich and powerful. Well, it wouldn’t be right for the servant to go about asking for food when he knows that the master of the house takes care of providing it for him, and must do so. The master would rightly tell his servant to be occupied in serving and seeking ways to please the master, for the servant, by worrying about what isn’t his own business, would be doing everything wrong.
Hmmm… all this time I thought God’s plan was about pleasing….(here it comes)….me. Yep. I will admit it. When I hear that God has a wonderful plan for my life I believe that plan, that wonderful God-birthed plan, is all about me and my pleasure, or happiness, or contentment. What if I got it all wrong? What if God’s plan is about God? What if my job isn’t to discover God’s plan for my life, but discover what God wants or better yet, how I can serve God? Why is it so easy to make God’s plan about me and my plan? Why is it so easy to make God’s will about my will? Why do I keep trying to get God to serve me and my purposes, when my job is to be serving God and God’s purposes? Only when I serve God will I discover what I was created for. Only then will I understand what the “Joy of the master” is all about.