Originally sent April 29th, 2008 to Jo, Lynda, Scott and Monda
About a month and a half ago Kavi and I made some cupcakes. Now, if you've ever made cupcakes with a first grader then this story will probably be pretty familiar to you.
Before we even started I made him wash his hands. Then I made him wash his hands again with soap. While he was doing that I measured out the oil and preheated the oven. Kavi returned and climbed up on his kitchen stool and with his clean hands reached for the first egg. He was able to crack all three eggs by himself, dumping the precious contents into the mixing bowl. While I was picking out the eggshells he decided to take a break to do some cartwheels in the den. Of course he didn't understand why he had to wash his hands again, with soap, since we'd vacuumed the floor a couple of days earlier...
We made the batter and he put the liners into the cup cake pans. He even managed to spoon some batter into the liners before it was time to take another break. I had gotten them into the oven and was starting to make the frosting when he returned, just in time to add the powdered sugar into the mixing bowl. After the powdered sugar dust storm subsided he was off to his room for another break.
While I was icing the cupcakes I asked myself why I didn't just buy some cupcakes at the store or wait until he went to bed. Both ways would have been faster, easier and certainly less messy. The next morning at school Kavi was bragging about how he had made cupcakes the night before. He didn't have a clue about how much extra work I had to do in order to make cupcakes with him. Of course, he doesn't understand how much I love to make cupcakes with him either, so it all balances out. Besides, when Kavi took credit for the cupcakes, it didn't take anything away from me. It didn't make the work that I did any less important and it certainly doesn't mean that he could really make cupcakes on his own.
Have you ever heard someone say that Catholics try to buy their salvation through good works? I have, and the next time that it happens to me I'm just gonna say: "Dude, I'm not buying my salvation, I'm just making cupcakes with Jesus."
Because God loves us, He gives us the unearned and undeserved gift of grace. As Christians with free will, we can either accept or reject this gift. Our salvation is found when we accept this gift and cooperate with it to do God's will here on Earth. Does this mean that Jesus didn't have to die for our sins or that we can gain heaven by our own merit? Of course not! Does our participation in doing God's will here on Earth in anyway diminish His divinity or ability? Absolutely not.
Jesus died for us, so that our sins could be forgiven. But Jesus also lived for us! He lived for us so that we could see how we should live - an authentic life full of the peace and joy that only an intimate relationship with God can provide. God really is our father and He cherishes each one of us and wants to help us grow and learn. Jesus knows, more than anyone who has ever walked the face of the Earth, that we are incapable of being perfect.
When He invites us to "help" him make cupcakes (feed the hungry, visit the sick, love thy neighbor, etc) He does so because He wants to be involved with every part of our lives. He wants us to abide in Him as He abides in us. He doesn't want us in the living room watching Sports Center while he's in the kitchen making cupcakes by himself. He wants us involved in His life, in our lives and in the lives of everyone that surround us. What do you think he meant when He commanded us to love our neighbors?
God, through the Holy Spirit, has given us all of the gifts that we need to do His will. Use these gifts. Trust in the Lord. When you trust in Him and try to do his will, He will help you to do things that you couldn't possibly do on your own.
Do you remember Matthew 18:3? 'And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven."' Maybe it's time that we take Jesus at his word and start relying more on God as our Father, just as Kavi relies on me as his father.
Your brother in Christ,