I just finished reading Brennan Manning’s memoir entitled All is Grace. It is a compelling story of the grace of God not just in Manning’s teaching and ministry, but also in his life. In one season of his journey while a member of the Little Brothers of Jesus, Manning encounters Dominique Voillaume. Voillaume is the one who cracked the door on God’s scandalous grace for Manning and he has written about him in several of his books.
I never jumped on the “ragamuffin” bandwagon, nor have I been a follower of Manning’s writings other than a cursory review as with many other authors. However, I found his memoir encouraging, compelling and emotional. Voillaume’s story, in particular, struck a cord.
I have spent many hours on sabbatical contemplating what it means to be useful. To do the work for which I’m called. To engage in who God has created me to be. To accept the love and grace poured out for me. To balance who I am with what I do.
Manning shares that toward what would be the end of Voillaume’s life he left the official ministry and moved close to family. He took a job as a night watchman in a nearby factory. As he would travel home each morning after his graveyard shift he would spend time in a local park with “the least of these.” The homeless and indigant, old and young, the losers of society were met with this simple man’s words saying, “Jesus Christ is crazy about you. He loves you just as you are, not as you should be.”
Voillaume died of a heart attack. The final entry of his journal is as follows:
“All that is not love of God has no meaning for me. I can truthfully say that I have no interest in anything but the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus. If God wants it to, my life will be useful through my word and witness. If He wants it to, my life will bear fruit through my prayers and sacrifices. But the usefulness of my life is His concern, not mine. It would be indecent of me to worry about that.”
I agree! How indecent of me to fret and flounder over how useful my life may be to God. I choose to surrender to God’s love just as I am. As the love of God washes over me, absorbs into my skin it can only transform me in the deepest places. Loved as I am, I cannot remain the same. Let God determine who I should be in the eyes of history, I am but focused on my love for Him and those he brings before me.