The act can purify the moment

But what if I make a mistake?

What if they all laugh at me?

What if they don’t understand?

How can I be sure I’m doing it for the correct reasons?

I’ve heard a story and I want to share it with you. There was a rabbi who was leading a group of people in some task. The people were doing what they were told. The deed was a good one, but the people doing it grew concerned about how they would later be judged for their deeds. They worried aloud about the image they portrayed in accomplishing their task. They even felt unsure that their own motives for doing this was misplaced and was not for glorifying God, but instead was for personal edification. So they asked the rabbi if they should change their action for these reasons and more.

The rabbi recognized their fears and said to them that this thing they do is not something to fear. That what they are doing is good. They know it in their hearts. They’ve prayed about it and discussed it and they should finish the work. “Why?” They grumbled. “We think our spirits will be up to question because our motivations may be misplaced” the rabbi simply said that they should not worry so much about the motivation. Was not their task a good one? Yes. Was not their work good and correct in its base nature? Yes. Then focus on that. Focus on the good you do and less on the motivation. Sometimes the act is more important than the reason behind doing it.

Another story.

A musician who is greatly in demand was preparing for a very important concert. The entire reason for being there was not just the musicians talents but the cause the performance was for. The entire community would benefit from it and he was glad to do it. His partner, on the other hand was equally good at playing an instrument. But his partner was focused on the money that would come of it. Very focused on it. To ensure he would benefit greatly, he practiced much longer and harder than the first. The day of the performance came and the first played beautifully. The audience was in rapture. The second played and missed notes, was off in his time and struggled. He wasn’t sure why, since he had rehearsed so hard and long. So when the concert ended, of the two musicians the loudest applause and accolades came to the first musician. And he was rewarded in ways the other never realized. Puzzled the second asked the first why his reward was so great while his was so much less than he expected.

The first said “…because your focus was on the wrong thing. I focused on the music while you focused on the money you expected. I was in the music and in the moment. You were more concerned with the outcome and I was focused on the love of what I was doing. The music”

The thing is, he had chosen to focus not on where his music would take him and what others would think of it. How the music (little g) gods would love his efforts. He was more concerned with with doing his craft for the love of it because that was the correct thing to do. Not to worry about how others would see him in doing it. In so doing this in-the-moment act, removing his focus onto others, he found the greatest joy in what he put into it and less on what he got out of it.

I, myself, have often said that if you try to focus on a career that is big money and less on the career you want the money ultimately will come. Chasing that paper may seem like the right thing to do because after all, how can you have a family, home, respect if you don’t have a full bank account? I would argue that by doing what you love simply because you love doing it and it’s what God wants you to do, then eventually if not sooner, the benefits will come. Both spiritually, emotionally, and financially.

Do what you love and the money will come. But in the meantime, your heart will be filled with joy because what you are doing is for the love of doing it.


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