The One Best Way?

Written by Kathy DeVet

Sometimes we can think that our preferred way of relating to God is the one best way. We can assume that most other people prefer that way as well. This is what social psychologists call the false consensus effect—where a person assumes that the way they think or feel is just the way all people think or feel.

I think back to marriage prep. Our sponsor couple told us that each of us had ways of doing things that were different—not wrong, just different. For the first couple of years of our marriage, this was a statement either one of us would say with regularity: “You are being so different right now.” It helped diffuse tension and remind us that his way of making the bed, or my way of praying is just that—different. It’s the same in a parish. When we want to solve a problem or get excited about a new program, we can lose sight of the fact that we won’t have all of the answers on our own. Sometimes we need to pause and remember that we all come from different backgrounds with different personalities and different callings, and that these differences serve a purpose in the community.

In his book, The Problem of Pain, C.S. Lewis wrote, “If He had no use for all these differences, I do not see why He should have created more souls than one . . . . Your soul has a curious shape because it is a hollow made to fit a particular swelling in the infinite contours of the divine substance, or a key to unlock one of the doors in the house with many mansions . . . each of the redeemed shall forever know and praise some one aspect of the divine beauty better than any other creature can.”

Jesus’ apostles and disciples were not all the same. I think about Peter—the leader—the first one to say, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” There’s Martha, being reminded by Jesus that her service must flow from the grace received in her relationship with Him, not just because she has an obligation. There is John—the disciple that Jesus loved—who is concerned about right relationships with God, with His mother, and with each other. And Paul: brilliant, bold, proclaiming the gospel to Gentiles and not just the Jews. We see Jesus calling tax collectors, sinners, doing miracles for the Canaanite woman, the Roman, Samaritans. He called all to follow Him, even when it made His followers uncomfortable, because all people – with all of their differences – are invited to be part of His plan for our salvation.

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Discover the unique ways in which you and your parishioners hunger for the Lord and the specific ways in which He satisfies that hunger. Learn more about The One Best Thing.

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