What Is Your Second Mile?

“If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles” (Matthew 5:41, NIV)

The gist of the passage is that back in ye olden Bible times, a Roman soldier could conscript anyone to carry his gear for up to one mile. Many Jewish people would put a marker exactly one mile from their houses so they would know precisely how much they were required to do.

Remember Simon of Cyrene? The Roman soldiers forced him to carry Jesus’ cross, probably based on this idea.

But pay attention to Jesus’ own words.

If anyone asks you to go one mile, go two. In other words, do above and beyond what is expected of you.

So the question that I heard today is the one I now pose to you: what is your second mile?

How can you serve where you’re planted in a way that goes beyond the minimum requirement?

It’s not necessarily about doing more, but about how you do what you’re doing. It’s all about your attitude.

Where you are, what you are doing, is your ministry, whether it’s in a church building or a seminary or a classroom or in a grocery store or in your own home.

I think the Apostle Paul nailed it when he said this: “Servants, do what you’re told by your earthly masters. And don’t just do the minimum that will get you by. Do your best. Work from the heart for your real Master, for God, confident that you’ll get paid in full when you come into your inheritance. Keep in mind always that the ultimate Master you’re serving is Christ. The sullen servant who does shoddy work will be held responsible. Being a follower of Jesus doesn’t cover up bad work” (Colossians 3:22-25, The Message).

That goes for any sphere of life for wherever you live,work, play, and serve.

Do it all as if you were doing it directly for Jesus Himself.

See everyone you meet as possibly Jesus in disguise and treat them like you would treat Him if you knew He was standing right in front of you.

New Year’s Rockin’ Eve? Maybe

image

So far, my mailbox isn’t exactly stuffed with invitations to parties and soirees for the end of the year. My phone isn’t blowing up with texts or messages or calls– or anything for that matter.

To borrow off the old TV western, “Have Chips and GPS. Will Travel.”

Likely, this will be a subdued year’s end. I’m not one for crazy shenanigans anyway. I prefer a few friends to a crowd any day. And I’d much rather be inside on a cold night like this anyway.

I’m currently accepting offers for New Year’s Eve 2014. Apparently, that beats waiting until the last minute like this year.

Here’s something to think about as you ring in 2014: “Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year”
(Ralph Waldo Emerson).

Now is the best day to be alive, to be thankful for being alive, and to live.

Don’t wait until 2014. Start now.

That’s all.

Oh, and happy new year!

Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive

image

Sometimes, life will hand you lemons. You could make them into lemonade, but without sugar and water to go with it, your lemonade is really going to suck. Or you could freeze those lemons and throw them at all those people who really annoy you. Just a thought.

Maybe it’s a friend who really disappointed you and wasn’t around when you needed them. Maybe it’s a long work week where you seem to have not only two left feet but two left hands as well. Maybe it’s just a general sense of discouragement at where you find yourself compared to so many others.

Here’s the cure. Focus on the good things in your life, or as the old song says. accentuate the positive.

Here are some of my positives which may or may not inspire you to find your own (or you could just steal mine if you like):

1) I woke up this morning and got out of bed and got dressed and went to work. It may not seem like much, but I know a lot of people who didn’t get that privilege today.

2) I greet on Tuesdays at Kairos (a young adult worship experience) with some of the most amazing people, each of whom I am blessed to know and to call friends.

3) The three C’s essential to any early morning– coffee, chocolate, and caffeine. All three are marvelous.

4) I can pull out my Bible (or pull out my iPhone or my iPad and bring up my Bible app) and instantly be encouraged and motivated and strengthen at any time of day or night.

5) Instead of lamenting about how far I am from where I need to be, I can celebrate how far I’ve already come and who I am now versus who I used to be.

6) If I look through eyes of faith, I can always find blessings and joys stashed throughout my week and choose to live out Eucharisteo in every moment.

7) No matter how bad my day may suck, it will never last more than 24 hours. No matter how bad the week seems, it will never have more than 7 days. And that includes Friday and Saturday.

8) My cat Lucy is always happy to see me when I come home and loves to tell me how her day went. Ok, not really. She’s more the silent type, but still her presence is a great comfort to me.

9) I love seeing how my nephews and niece are discovering this great big world and their place in it. They are becoming who God made them to be and I love the previews I get of what that will look like.

10) I have my favorite places that always make me happy: my corner of the couch in the morning, downtown Franklin, serving at Kairos and Room in the Inn, and being around my family and friends.

Joy is a choice that I must make every single day. If I want my life to matter and if I want the people I live with and work with and play with to see a difference in me, the only way is me living out of joy and gratitude and thanksgiving at the never ending goodness and mercy and steadfast love of God.

And there’s those three C’s.

Not a good weekend

goofymonkey

I’d have to say honestly that this was not a good weekend  for me. I relapsed into some old issues of co-dependency and lack of trust. I found out that I am not nearly as strong or wise or good as I once thought. I felt as though I were under spiritual attack all weekend.

I also found out that God can still use broken people. I was reminded that His grace covers all my weaknesses. I know that God is good and that He will never give up on me. One day I will  be who I’ve always dreamed and hoped and wished I’d be. I will be everything God has dreamed for me. In the meantime, I am still Abba’s child. He still loves me as if I always did what was right and loved people the way I should and lived out of hope and not fear.

The best part of the deal is that tomorrow is a clean slate. Every morning His mercies are new. Thank you God for a love that never gives up and for hope that never fails and for grace. Especially for grace.