The Measure of Love

“We’re rewarded not according to our work, but according to the measure of our love.”
– Catherine of Siena

For a very long time, one of my biggest regrets in life was that my addiction to food and alcohol kept me from becoming an all-star field hockey player in college.  I received some honors while in high school, and during my freshman season in college, showed great potential.  However, when you put potential on one side of a scale and addiction on the other, the addiction always win out.  While I continued to play field hockey throughout my college years, there were no accolades to come my way.  The beauty of my life today is that I no longer regret it.

For a very long time, my addiction served to rob me of living in a healthy and productive way.  I was unable to be a loyal friend, a reliable employee, or a faithful servant.  I was lost in a world of chasing after reward and always coming up short.  It wasn’t until I realized I was on the wrong path and living every day filled with unrealistic expectations for what the world owed me that I was able to come to a true understanding of the message in Catherine of Siena’s quote above.

These days, my addiction serves as a blatant reminder of how I don’t want to live my life.  Life is not about receiving awards or being recognized for the work I do.  Don’t get me wrong, those things are great, but they aren’t why I get up in the morning.  What keeps me going today is so much greater than any plaque or trophy – it is a heart filled with the peace of God.  When I help someone else – a friend, a family member, co-worker, or stranger – I think of what I am doing as a measure of God’s love. Whether or not I receive anything in return or am noticed for what I do is no longer my goal.  My goal is simply to share the message of God’s love with others throughout my day. The work I do is important; but it means nothing if it lacks love.

When Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment was, His response was, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.  This is the greatest and first commandment.  And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.  On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”  (Matthew 22:37-40, NRSV)

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