Gratitude Day 409
Thurs., Feb. 20, 2020
1 Thessalonians 2:12: We appealed to you, encouraged you, and pleaded with you to live lives worthy of the God who is calling you into his own kingdom and glory.
It is SO. EASY. TO DO.
When I’m with our grandkids, I often hear myself saying, “Don’t do that!”
And I feel like an old lady. A cackling hen. The type of person I prayed that I would not become.
Yet, sometimes, she comes screaming out: “Don’t …”
Don’t pick on your sibling.
Don’t use that word.
Don’t. Don’t. Don’t.
On a really good day, I may throw in, “Please don’t …” But those are the rare days.
This same thing happened to Jesus one day. A very rich man came to him and said, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?”
Jesus reminded the man that he knew the commandments. Don’t murder. Don’t commit adultery. Don’t steal. Don’t bear false witnesses. Don’t be dishonest.
The rich guy told Jesus that he had no problem doing these. In fact, he had been doing them for as long as he could remember.
Jesus gave him one other thing to do. Do go and sell everything you have. Do give everything to the poor. Then, your reward will await you in heaven.
Do one simple thing. Just one thing.
But it was too much. The rich man was shocked. Dismayed. Overwhelmed. There was no way that he could sell everything. He just couldn’t do it.
While we often look at this story and question whether or not we must give all we have away to the poor, there’s really more to this story. Too often, we think of our faith in terms of don’t do this or don’t do that. Don’t. Don’t. Don’t.
But when it came down to what was really important, most important, Jesus didn’t use the word, “Don’t.” Jesus implied the word, “Do.”
Do. Do. Do.
Like the rich man, we applaud ourselves for following the don’ts … when what Jesus really wants us to embrace are the do’s.
Do help the poor.
Do wash each other’s feet.
Do give all that we can.
Do love your neighbor.
Do love your enemy.
Do. Do. Do.
Why is it that we often want to put up walls and borders and boundaries that embrace the don’ts while ignoring or overlooking the do’s Jesus highlights throughout his ministry? I think we would be amazed at what would happen in our communities, our country and our world if we put half as much energy into the do’s of this world rather than focusing so much energy on the don’ts.
Do clothe others.
Do feed the hungry.
Do embrace those who are different from you.
The do’s of God’s kingdom are worthy of God’s calling. The do’s are worthy of God’s kingdom and glory. The do’s seem to be pretty important to Jesus. Maybe, just maybe, they should be important to us as well.
When we focus on the do’s, we stop being the cackling rooster or hen that we pray we would not become. It allows us to be our best energy into the areas of God’s kingdom that are deeply meaningful and important.
I pray that we can embrace God’s kingdom as a place where we focus on what do’s God yearns for us to embody. And leave the don’ts behind.
For a God who focuses on the do’s rather than the don’ts, I am grateful.
Lord God – Why is it that we too often focus on what don’ts we want in your kingdom rather than embracing all the do’s you lay before us? Inspire us to leave the don’ts behind and become people who focus on the do’s of your kingdom. Amen.
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