As Things Change, Will You Continue To Care More Or Less?
Notes on the Sunday address by Dr Francis Macnab, 31 January 2016.
By John Abbate.
Many things get left behind during the course of our lives. We move on. Some of the things we once cared about are forgotten—left for others to care about, or for nobody to care at all. “Caring is costly. Caring is complicated,” said Dr Macnab.
“Caring is a product of our emotional maturity, our social intelligence, our rational self-interest, our moral obligations…”
Dr Macnab tells us that, according to the Bible, caring has its reward in the “lasting, colourful affirmation that what you did in your time was worth doing, not only for the fullness of your own life, but as an expression of the fullness of all life, what the Bible calls ‘the fullness of God himself.’”
“[Caring] will inevitably be intertwined with each one’s self-interest, intertwined with complex emotions. But is it carrying the marks of empathy, altruism and the fullest possible goodness?”
How will you care, genuinely, generously, and effectively, in challenging circumstances and changing times? Your best caring will require realistic and rational choices about who, and what, to care for, and about what can realistically be done. Dr Macnab offers a few suggestions to help us on the complex path of caring:
- Focus on what is practical, possible, and realistic. Focus on the resources you have and the things it is possible for you to do.
- Realise that caring is about the investment of your energy. Find and focus that energy.
- Find the direction of your caring—will you go backward or forward? Will you try to pick up what you left behind, or begin the process of prevention so the past is not repeated?
- Seek to rise above dissention, conflict and blame.
To end his address, Dr Macnab notes the importance of recognising that we cannot always mend the past—“we can’t save all the cats left behind.” Sometimes it is only by leaving the past behind that we can meet the challenge of caring effectively into the future, and “promote that fullness of life which will reflect (the Bible says) the fullness of God himself.”