I’m not sure when this happened, but these days I find myself making lists for everything. Maybe it’s some kind of carry over from years of day planners and electronic calendars that were supposed to map out my life. Maybe it’s because I’m still swimming in continual motion and so I have to actually plan down time, you know take 15 minutes today and say some prayers or read a book or simply sit very still.
Sometimes though, I make lists, a grocery list for example, and then I go to the store and totally ignore my list. Now what is up with that? Oh sure, I get a little benefit because I recall some of the things I wrote on the list more easily, but more often than not, I get home and the one key thing I meant to buy was totally forgotten. I wonder why I forgot the batteries for the clock in the kitchen or the wax paper that I needed to make cookies for my small group. After all, I made a list.
A long time ago, one of the Patriarchs made a list, more of a To-Do list than a shopping list I guess. Some may look at it as more of a “Don’t Do” list, but like any other attempt at list making, it only works if we refer to it. You might think the ten items on His list couldn’t have much meaning all these years later. I mean there’s not one thing on my list that anyone will need to keep in mind five minutes from now. But this list is a little different. It look like this to me.
- Remember I’m your only God. That means you can take money, material things, new cars, pride, and a whole bunch of other stuff off your list. Wow, that shifts things a bit.
- Since I’m your only God, you have nothing else to worship and adore. Nothing else really holds a candle to me anyway.
- Remember to only speak my name when you’re referring to ME! How did it ever happen where we even echo “Jesus” or “God” as something like a swear word? I definitely want to keep this one on the list.
- Remember to keep a day just to spend time with ME. Get together with others and talk about me, spend time alone and reflect on me, but I really love to have time with you, so let’s get together. (Well, that’s how I imagine God might talk to me about this one.)
- Remember to Honor the people I gave you to nurture you and guide you and parent you through life. They may not be perfect, but they are yours!
- Remember that life is sacred and meant to be honored in action and in speech.
- Remember that your marriage is sacred and meant to be honored in action and in speech.
- Remember to appreciate all that you have...your talents, your possessions, your optimism…
- Remember to always speak the truth…kindly and deliberately.
- Remember that you are just as blessed as your neighbor is.
Well, for all the theologians out there, I know my list isn’t the exact one from the writers of Exodus, but it’s still a list that needs to be kept in front of me every day. It’s a list with a life plan. It touches the body, mind, and spirit and reminds me of the priority. Of course, I loved it later when Jesus reduced the list to the two essentials of “Love God” and “Love Your Neighbor”.
Now, if I just have those two things on my list, I should be able to accomplish them. Every day, I need to pull that list out again because I’ve totally forgotten one important part of it or another. The good news though is that each time I find a way to “love my neighbor” I get a hidden gift because that love reflects right back on the number one item…to “Love God.”
Guess I’ll be in the list making business for the rest of my days. It’s the only way I keep things straight. Okay, off and running. So glad you’re my neighbor!