Nice Work If You Can Get It


Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.” (John 6:29)

With all the religious diatribe, spiritual claptrap, psycho-babble, and either honeyed or jalapeno hooey, it’s no wonder so many of us are clueless about the God thing. Oh, we know a lot of the club rules, but they just don’t have that satisfying je nais se qua we’re looking for. We suspect that something is required of us, but can’t quite put our fingers on it.

So there’s a small pod of Jesus groupies. They’ve been listening to their religious leaders all their lives and have given the religious game their best shot. Then along comes Jesus who both simplifies and mucks up the system. They listen to him tell stories and lambaste religious hypocrites. They watch him heal the sick, drive out demons, and serve dinner for 5000. They are amazed at his authority and expertise in all things God. Finally they ask him the mother of all questions: “What exactly does God want us to do?” Bingo.

Philosophers and scientists have missed the boat. The big question is not “Does God exist?” That’s not the issue that simmers in the deepest well of the human soul. The nagging question is “What does God want from me anyway?” In fact, it’s really this question that sparks the quest to find God in the first place. If you don’t give a crap about what the existence of God would imply, you’re not going to care whether there is one or not. And if you’re dead set against allowing divine claims on human life, you’re probably going make damn sure he doesn’t exist. There are a bunch of new books out there to help you do just that.

So these folks ask Jesus the only question that matters. “What exactly does God want us to do?” And he tells them that God has one job for them: believe. That’s it. Forget your ten commandments; forget your love God/love your neighbor thing; forget your laundry list of moral and ethical obligations; forget your random acts of kindness. There is only one job that pays. There’s just one job that God requires, a reduced-calorie, low-fat, single task recognized by supreme beings everywhere. Believe in the one he has sent.

Simple. Unadulterated. Complete. And with great benefits. Too bad I’m already self-employed.


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