Fr. Mark Dreves was recently assigned as our new pastor at Holy Spirit Catholic Church. We are fortunate he brings significant pastoral leadership skills to help us right the ship in the aftermath of Covid.

While serving as an usher during the Sunday 10 a.m. mass, I paused to listen to his homily, and these words resonated with me …

“He sent His Son to save us.

He sent His Son to lead us to right living.

He sent His Son to bring us to heaven.

Life is not a test.

God is not testing us.”

Life is Not a Test

In my 20s, I heard a motivational speaker proclaim the following: “Everything in life is a test. We are always being graded by someone.”

In fact, I have lived most of my life with someone watching me and assigning grades based on my performance. The pressure of living under constant scrutiny often leads to anxiety, and doing the work is no longer fun.

Lead us to Right Living

As Fr. Mark noted, “He sent His Son to lead us to right living.”

I interpret “right living” to also mean “right working,” or right anything we do in life.

Right living for me can come in the following forms:

  • I will look for opportunities to share my time, talent, and treasure. There are so many beautiful causes where I can help, and God is asking me to take the role of a disciple.
  • There are countless opportunities to comfort friends, family, and colleagues when they are in a time of despair. It is my responsibility to be acutely aware of these situations and be ready to show love and patience to these individuals. I am reminded of a friend at church whose husband recently passed away. They were married more than 40 years, and she is suffering. When she speaks about her late husband, tears quickly form in her eyes. My wife and I suggested the opportunity to share a lunch together, and she was elated we thought about her. I will make sure to follow-up today.

Grades Don’t Matter

As a professor for more than 30 years, I have been in the field where grades are front-and-center. I learned from my own professors about the bell-shaped curve, which means some students will earn “A’s”, most will fall in the average or “C” category, and a few will fail the class.

When students join the workforce, they are immediately subjected to performance evaluations. It seems like our actions or inactions are constantly under a microscope. Think about it … we are graded on whether we arrive to work on time, whether we greet the customer appropriately, and even our ability to deliver an effective presentation on Zoom.

I will take comfort in the words from Fr. Mark: “God is not testing us.”

For me, I will search for opportunities to serve, and I will do my best. I will treat others with respect. I will look for ways to comfort others. I will also seek comfort when necessary.

It’s beautiful to live a life where success is based on positive actions and not on whether I scored the highest grade.