“Teach us to number our days and recognize how few they are Lord. Help us to spend them as we should.”
Of all the many Lenten emails I received daily several really made me stop and think. One of those instructed readers to “examine your calendar and your checkbook. What do these tell you about the gods you serve?” Ouch.
I pretty much live and breathe according to my calendar. Make that calendars. I have one in my kitchen, next to my desk, on Google, on my phone, and for work. Sometimes I make myself crazy updating and syncing them, but in the end they actually bring me peace of mind. I love the serenity of knowing I will not forget something because it’s on my calendar. I’m a “write it down” kinda girl and what better place to write something down then on my calendar?
Checkbooks. For many they are thing of the past but our household still uses one and keeps it updated religiously. Manually. In pencil. I know, crazy right?
In glancing over my calendar and checkbook though, how many entries do I see devoted to God? Naturally I don’t have to write down “go to mass” every Sunday because that’s a given. I do write down the Sundays I volunteer as a Hospitality Minister and the monthly bible study I am blessed to be a part of though. In the checkbook I found donation entries to our church’s weekly offertory. But is that all? In looking deeper, I don’t think so.
“God does not call the equipped. He equips the called. Go serve!”
I received that message from my friend Jane one day online and I loved it. It inspired me that day and inspired me to take a second look at my calendar and checkbook.
Does helping the Austin Dog Alliance yesterday evaluate potential therapy dogs serve God? I like to think so. Does teaching my preschool class the real meaning of Easter and all about Jesus count? I certainly hope so. What about recent donations to Easter Seals and a philanthropic run/walk? I like to believe those entries in my checkbook are serving the will of God as well.
To me, giving my time, talents, and treasures to a bigger cause serve God whether they are on my calendar or not. I also like to think they help lead us on the path of holiness.
To be holy is to be consecrated, according to some wise notes I received at my bible study. We are all set apart for a purpose but the challenge is to act holy. As they say, “actions speak louder than words.” Way louder.
So, our daily task and calendar entries should maybe be asking what our mission for the day is and to “be a saint.” Ask yourself, “am I in a state of grace?” “What can I do today to help others?” “Have I prayed today?”
It’s difficult to be or do any of the above if you are filled with resentment or bitterness though. Start by eliminating self-pride from your life and adding more humility. It’s important to remember you are not living for yourself. We are called to be disciples and I was surprised to learn that one of our most important tasks is to do everything we can to get our spouses and children to heaven. Wow. Turns out family is way more important than many of us think and spending quality time with them is holier than we think. Family is important to me and goes much further than my husband and my daughter. I love and pray for my mom, my sisters, my nieces and nephews, and everyone in between. Without them, I’m so much less.
Praying to eliminate unforgiveness in your life and in your heart is also important. We all need to give forgiveness and ask for forgiveness. It starts with justice and surprisingly doesn’t mean you trust that person again or release them from any debt you feel owed. It simply means you are no longer going to hold onto the pain and the lack of forgiveness that hurt you.
“Lord, help me to realize how brief my time on earth will be. My whole lifetime is but a moment to you and all my busy rushing ends in nothing.” Ps. 39
Adding more time for praying to your daily calendar is also critical. Slow down and pray. Talk to God. Listen. Wait. I start each day by reading my “Jesus Calling” devotional and find it truly talks to me and centers me. If we don’t take time to pray what does that say about our daily task calendar?
Another way to look at things is to ask yourself “am I firmly rooted in Jesus?” We all want to be that tree planted by the waters from the book of Jeremiah, but in order to do so our roots must be firmly planted in God in order to bear the fruit that pleases Him.
Honoring God is both challenging and simple. How do you honor God? By going to church? By studying the bible? Those are both great things, but don’t forget to honor God by what you do. Make the decision to honor Him in all you do today and every day because you are His representative on earth. Make Him proud. Make Him smile. Now that’s something to put on your calendar!