Work with My Whole Heart? Maybe, Yes!

A Year of Being Kind blog – Thursday, April 3, 2014

 

Work with My Whole Heart? Maybe, Yes!

Today I took a closer look at the verse for this new month in my blog, another in the series of verses from the Bible that talk about service and work. From Colossians, verse 3:23: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.”

This is an important verse for me to consider, especially since I am just starting a new job. A new ministry. Sure, I need to be aware of the people I work for! However, I kind-of, sort-of get the hint from this verse that I need to have my priorities straight. I need to do my work for God, first and foremost. If I consider God before anything (and anyone) else, I suspect I will have a minimum of difficulties.

I relish having a varied position! Different kinds of things to do for work. I enjoy it, and am energized by it. I know that a certain kind of person prefers to have a set number of things to do each day or each week, and is comfortable within those set parameters. While I can work under those limited conditions, I find I appreciate the freedom of more options. Like this week, for instance. Just the past three days.

Not only did I familiarize myself with the church office, but I researched, wrote and preached a sermon, made the order of worship and led the Lenten midweek service, assisted Pastor Gordon at the midweek bible study, chose and practiced some service music for Sunday worship, did a good deal of praying for members and friends of the church, and had a number of extended conversations with some individuals—in terms of pastoral care and church activities.

Wow! What a way to be of service!

It’s true that God has given me a spirit of conscientiousness. Yes. Guilty as charged. So, I really try to do my very best—except now I don’t beat myself up for it if I do happen to miss the mark. It was at least twenty years ago; I used to do that. Beat myself up, that is. I would get really guilty, and feel badly, and my poor self-image would pound me even further into the ground. But gradually, God has helped me become more comfortable in my own skin. After a number of years of working on myself (and my Self), getting further training in seminary and several internships, and more than a dozen years of intentional therapy, it’s changed. I mean, I’ve changed. I pray, for the better!

With God’s help, I’m part of God’s team. I am able to step up to the plate (to use a baseball analogy). God’s the Manager in this ballgame. And I need to remember: even if I strike out two out of three times, a .333 batting average is pretty good! I don’t need to hit one out of the park all the time. Not even most of the time. Thanks for that assurance, God!

baseball - color sketch, 2005

baseball – color sketch, 2005

@chaplaineliza
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Being Kind Through Forgiveness

A Year of Being Kind blog – Tuesday, January 21, 2014

forgive others

Being Kind Through Forgiveness

Have you ever suddenly realized something serious? I mean, deep down significant? Yup. That happened to me today.

This afternoon I talked with someone I sincerely respect and appreciate. I was going on and on (as I sometimes tend to do when excited and/or emotional), and my friend pointed out something significant. She summarized what I had said and then lifted up the pertinent point. I mean, the thing practically bit me on the nose, it was so obvious. I needed to forgive, badly. I couldn’t hold on to that resentment any longer.

Awestruck, I sat there for a moment or two, and then I thanked my friend. Newly resurfaced, the thing was bobbing around at the top of my mind. Not that I was gnawing on it regularly, but something caused the thing to resurface last week after a long time of not thinking about it. I vividly had the realization that resentment was curdling inside of me like extremely sour milk. (Eww!!) Again suddenly, I realized I had been holding that awful, nasty feeling inside of me for many, many months. I had to let it go.

For this blog, the verse I have been focusing on for the month of January is Ephesians 4:32. “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you.” I’ve spoken a lot about being kind and tenderhearted to one another already. But I haven’t said anything about the second half of this verse. Until now. I need to forgive others. I mean, I really need to forgive, because God has forgiven me. I can think of three distinct times (there are more, of course) in the Gospels where Jesus specifically deals with forgiveness. (The three times I have in mind are two parables and in the Lord’s Prayer). Yes, Lord. You’ve got me. Right between the eyes. Guilty as charged.

I received abundant, loving forgiveness from God for my many faults and flaws, for sins of commission and omission. Therefore, I need to freely turn around and forgive. Any personal, practical outworking of God’s forgiveness in my life will be realized as I actively forgive others. Yes, Lord. Intellectually, I know this truth. I even have experienced it, on any number of occasions. However, this half-forgotten thing in my life was secretly curdling on some inner, recessed pantry shelf. On my insides, deep within. Pulling it out of my memory last week was just the beginning. When I discussed it today with my friend, I received some relief. Going further and acknowledging it to God will bring me further peace of mind. Taking that additional step of asking forgiveness of God and releasing that horrid resentment will bring me serenity. Then and only then, will I experience serenity and peace first with God (most important), with others, and (also significant) with myself.

I suppose today I was kind to myself. Not that I have completely forgiven the situation. No, but I’ve taken several steps towards forgiveness. I’ve started; I am halfway there. <deep sigh> Thanks, God.

@chaplaineliza