Monday, March 16, 2009
Reuben Job writes about three simple rules that have the power to change the world.
Do no harm
Stay in love with God
By following rule #1 we would avoid responding in a way that does not cause damage or destruction to humankind, God’s creation, and ourselves. Practicing this rule has proven to be enormously challenging as I’ve tried to carefully consider all of my thoughts, words, and actions.
Now I’m focusing on rule #2 and as Job says, “things begin to get even more complicated.” It sounds simple to do good, but how good do I need to be and how often do I need to do good? Like doing no harm, doing good is a proactive way of living. This rule requires us to seek good for everyone in our world and in God’s world. Every word and deed must come out of love and obedience to God.
Wesley taught that we must be Christian in word and deed and referred to these actions as “works of mercy.” He practiced what he preached by living modestly and giving all he could to the poor, visiting prisons, speaking out against slavery, and dispensing medicine from his chapels. http://gbgm-umc.org/umw/wesley/mission.stm
Doing good is often overwhelming when we observe all the needs of our families, co-workers, friends, congregations, neighborhoods, and communities. Add the needs around the world and it’s mind boggling. Where do we start?
Let’s start by following Jesus’ example.
God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power; how he went about doing good. Acts 10:38
Jesus did good as he went about his daily life as he saw needs. He ministered in everyday life.
On his way to Jerusalem he stopped in Bethany to visit with Mary and Martha.
On his way to Capernaum he taught his disciples the importance of service.
He ministered as he went out of his way.
Hearing of his cousin’s John’s death, Jesus needed to be alone in his grief, but he heard the voices of needy people and went out of his way and “healed the sick” (Matthew 14:14).
He healed a blind man. He told stories to children. He ate with sinners. He attended a wedding feast. He fished with the disciples. He taught at the synagogue.
Jesus didn’t rent an auditorium or do a mass mailing to advertise his ministry or establish a foundation in order to do his good deeds.
He set out each day with eyes open and ears tuned in to the needs that arose around him throughout the course of the day.
We can do that too! We can be alert to the needs around us and then as we surrender to God’s leading, we can do good. Who needs a card of encouragement? Who needs a home-cooked meal? What charity needs a financial donation or an act of service? How can I extend hospitality and kindness to all I meet? How can I do good to those who disagree with me?
on our way
out of our way
in all kinds of ways.