I am trying to be a list person. Typically, my lists get left behind on the kitchen counter, or if they are more goal-oriented, require me to breathe into a paper bag. Instead, I am a do-one-hard-thing-a-day-and-act-peppy-about-it kind of girl.
Lists are an important way to keep focused. Works of Mercy are a list of 14 ways we can worship God by serving our neighbor. Part of their appeal is they offer specific ways to practice our faith.
We know service is a core component of Christianity, but we don’t always know how to implement it in daily life. We think to serve legitimately, we must forgo designer jeans, join the Peace Corps, and live in a mud hut. We don’t understand the everywoman/everyman way of living our faith.
I’m as well suited to the everywoman perspective as any woman since I’ve always been quite ordinary. I know that sounds braggy, which is not even a word, but in my ordinariness, I am making it one because I am Queen Everywoman, from the land of all things ordinary, and I can do what I want.
I have to stop the everywoman talk. That’s Oprah’s thing. She took “I’m Every Woman” by Chaka Khan and made it her theme song. She may sue me if I keep using it. Besides, my theme song has always been a little more “I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor.
Still, here’s a list to help you practice your faith without having to take malaria prevention pills.
Everybody Ways To Serve:
– Do one hard thing a day. I know I sounded like an underachiever when I wrote that earlier, but it’s an important way to mindfully serve. There’s almost always something we need to do that we put off, avoid, minimize, or act like Scarlet O’Hara by thinking, “Tomorrow is another day.” I am not talking about your taxes. Call an old friend, visit a lonely neighbor, or read an extra bedtime story even though you would rather boil Froggy than read one more book about him. Tomorrow is another day, until it’s not.
– Pray. You don’t have to fast or kneel on a concrete floor for hours. Just integrate it into your day. Talk to God while you drive, brush your teeth, or cook supper. Tell him a genuine struggle. You may be surprised how much better you feel.
– Apologize. Forgiveness is a work of mercy, and it is work, no doubt. But we are called to do it. Rarely is there something to forgive that we can’t take some responsibility for. Apologize and accept someone else’s apology.
– Gratitude. There’s so much we take for granted. By doing so, we forsake the satisfaction of our blessings. Pause and be thankful.
– Stop rushing. One of the things I love about Jesus is he never seemed to hurry when he talked to people. He made everyone feel special. I love to think of what that was like for the people he encountered. They had his undivided attention. Even though we can’t see him, we do, too. What a gift it would be to make others feel this way.
While I want to continue with this list, I already did my one hard thing today. So, I am going to rest. Resting is good, too. Remember, Jesus rested on the seventh day.
I like to think he was the original everyman. I wonder what his theme song would have been.
So what would you add to this list? Do you have any suggestions of easy ways to serve right where you are?
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