“The greed of gain has no time or limit to its capaciousness” (Rabindranath Tagore).
WITH TODAY’S READING, SOMEONE WILL SURELY SAY, “BUT GARY, HOW CAN ‘LIMITS’ POSSIBLY BE AN ‘ENTHUSIASTIC’ IDEA.” Well, I know that in the current culture we hardly ever think of restrictions as being good, but hear me out. Life without any limits would not be the “good life,” and so we need to be reminded of the positive role that boundaries (and even rules) can play in our lives.
Consider the quotation at the top from Rabindranath Tagore: “The greed of gain has no time or limit to its capaciousness.” Is it not a fact that pride and greed are at the root of many of our problems, both individually and socially? Whatever we want, we think we have a right to it and nothing should be allowed to stand in our way. We respect no limitations on our aims or ambitions, and we abide by no rules that would hinder our desires. So we do great damage — both to ourselves and others — by this autonomous view of our “possibilities.”
This is the very thinking that got the human race into trouble in the first place, and frankly, none of us can say that we haven’t contributed to the mess. It’s time for us to reexamine the idea of limits and learn to see it as a positive concept. Yes, the idea can be carried too far, but that is no reason to throw away the goodness of the thing itself.
Among the many limits that must be respected are those that are moral in nature. Given to us by our Creator, these objective, timeless principles cannot be violated without disastrous consequences. Beyond that, however, there are many other limits that we would be wise to respect, such as our personal limits. We are finite beings, and we are at our best when we accept that fact. “I am not eternity, but a man; a part of the whole, as an hour is of the day” (Epictetus).
Erwin W. Lutzer once wrote, “Self-acceptance is basically a spiritual issue. What it boils down to is this: are we able to thank the Creator for the way he made us?” We won’t begin to recover from the illnesses that plague us until we lay down our rebellion, recover a sense of reverence, and learn to appreciate our nature as created beings.
“Worship is pictured at its best in Isaiah when the young prophet became aware of the Father, aware of his own limitations, aware of the Father’s directives, and aware of the task at hand” (Raymond C. Ortlund).