I have a loose goal to read the Imitation of Christ once a year, which means I read it once every year and a half or so. Recently, I’ve started reading it again and chapter six has always been a comfort and a challenge for me. Here is the first paragraph:
“It is a very great thing to obey, to live under a superior and not to be one’s own master, for it is much safer to be subject than it is to command. Many live in obedience more from necessity than from love. Such become discontented and dejected on the slightest pretext; they will never gain peace of mind unless they subject themselves wholeheartedly for the love of God.”
Here’s what I like about this: (a) everyone wants peace, but few have it, and (b) it is human nature to be selfish, and this wisdom is counter intuitive.
I wonder what he means by “safer,” as the context doesn’t specifically define the sense of his intent. Is discontent the danger, and living in obedience the safety from that danger? Is the danger of command come from making mistakes? Is it the pressure of leadership? I’m not sure what “much safer” means…
“Many live in obedience more from necessity than from love.” YIKES! I hope that’s not a place I even visit! I have have seen who get discontented or dejected at the smallest thing. If we serve in love (the love of God, not for any other love), then offenses shrink and are easier to forgive.
I think this is the measure of serving in love: how much (or how little) does it take to for you to become discontented or dejected?