I was listening to a podcast this week and heard the story of Emily Stimpson Chapman which inspired me greatly. This woman is a Catholic writer, mom of three adopted children, and has woven a tapestry of a beautiful life and ministry from her own struggles which include an eating disorder and a long life of singlehood before she found her spouse.
She is a wonderful example of inspiring Catholic womanhood. Right now in my life, she’s truly an inspiration that I want to emulate! God gives us people like that from time to time to inspire a new way of living.
When I read the Gospel today, I thought of the stark contrast between religious people in my life who dish out demands like rules and rituals based on their concept of what’s right and perfect, and amazing examples like Emily who live them out in a humble, inspiring way. The first group makes me cringe and push back. The second group inspires and captivates me.
Taking this even beyond religion… who are you most inspired by? The leader who dishes out demands constantly and places heavy burdens on your back that inevitably make you exhausted, sick, and unhappy? Or the leader who inspires you to more with their vision, example, and values – who gives you a sense of renewed energy, purpose, and positivity?
Maybe that’s Jesus’ point today. Most of us aren’t inspired by those who dish out demands like the Pharisees, but rather those who live inspiring examples that energize us to new levels of living like Jesus.
Look yourself in the mirror today and ask: Am I a disher of demands that places heavy burdens on others or am I an inspiring example of the faith that energizes others to be and do more for God? Maybe I’m a little of both and need to be more of an inspiring example like Jesus.