I am going to quote something completely out of context, and use it for my own purposes. I feel completely justified in doing so, mostly because it is not scripture, it is not some “important” scholar, it’s just a line from a television show. I am pretty sure that it is rooted in a philosophy that I do not agree with, but I also think that there is a nugget of truth buried in there.
” if nothing we do matters… , then all that matters is what we do. ‘Cause that’s all there is. What we do. Now. Today. … All I wanna do is help. I wanna help because, I don’t think people should suffer as they do. Because, if there’s no bigger meaning, then the smallest act of kindness is the greatest thing in the world.” Angel, Angel episode Epiphany
The introduction isn’t quite true. I have given enough context to show that I am planning to take it out of context. As a Christian, I clearly believe that there is a bigger meaning behind things. Our lives do not take place in some sort of nihilistic wasteland.
On the other hand, we do live out a faith where the finish line has been set in stone. No matter what I decide to do, we are on a trajectory where on the way to the end the people of God will be rejected in a very tangible way by the world at large. There may be some ups and downs before that happens, but that all amounts to static. Ultimately, we as individual believers are not going to set up God’s Kingdom on earth. Further, no matter what I do, the day will come (and what a glorious day it will be) when Jesus comes back in all of his majesty to take what is rightfully his.
We have no control over our temporal defeat or over our eternal victory. In that sense, “nothing that we do matters”.
“… all that matters is what we do.”
The idea that our actions do not determine the final result does not diminish us, it sets us free to do the good that we can in the cracks and crevices of history without the weight of feeling tasked with saving the world.
Peter cut someone’s ear off because he thought that it was his job to help usher in the Kingdom. Trust me, Jesus has that one under control.
We don’t need to go around chopping people’s ears off for the sake of the Kingdom. That will only get us the reputation of “ear amputators”. Instead, we can do something that matters.
“All I wanna do is help. I wanna help because, I don’t think people should suffer as they do.”
That sounds a lot like being the Good Samaritan. That sounds an awful lot like “loving your neighbor as yourself”.