Saturday, April 21, 2012

Who Comes First?

"Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people."   ... Colossians 3:23


You know how some Bible verses, once they become part of who you are, can change a whole third or fourth of your life? Make everything appear brighter, better? Well, that's what happened with that verse, above.

I mean, instead of writing letters (or later, emails) to people so they'd write back to me (and think of me as Debra, The Faithful Friend), I began writing letters simply because God told me to. When He told me. And how.

And you know? I stopped getting upset if friends wrote just three sentences when I'd written a hundred--or if they didn't write back at all. Oh, I'd be a bit disappointed (being still human, after all), but gone was the, "Well, if they're going to act like that, then I'm not going to write back to them!" attitude. You know, the, "What's wrong with people nowadays, #$%^@& ?" attitude which sours how we perceive the rest of our world.

When I started truly doing things foremost for God, then I stopped keeping count of what people did for me, rather we were 'even' or not in our giving to each other (thank-you notes, included). Over time, I stopped killing myself by working hard to impress people and keep-up with them. I could invite people over without redecorating the whole house and yard, first, for I was now inviting them because God says hospitality is godly and right. (Though I did have to remind myself of all that this past week while out in the yard mowing and transplanting daylilies and forget-me-nots before our guests arrive today. Alas.)

And like, last Sunday when we visited our friend, Donna, in the hospital--yes, we went because she's our dear friend, but the larger reason we'll go again tomorrow? It's because Jesus said if we visit those who are sick, it's as though we visited Him. And also, the pressure will be off of Donna to visit Tom and me if someday we find ourselves in a hospital bed, for--because we visited her 'as unto the Lord'--we'll not be offended if she doesn't come see us. (She's such a dear, that we know she would, but that's not the point.)  :)

God will have rewarded us already, we will have been obedient as unto Him--and always, that is what matters most. That is what simplifies this very complicated 2012 life in which we're all living.

Oh, the pressure I took off of my friendships when I began living this way! When I learned to receive and treasure most and best the blessings from God, first, from my obedience and love toward Him. Then behind that, secondly, the gifts from friends. How much easier it became to love and forgive them, as well.

I realize this will sound odd to some of you, perhaps like outer-space-la-la thinking, even. But for me? It's one of those concepts, one of those biblical instructions, which has released a ton of pressure from my head and shoulders and which has helped to sweeten and uncomplicate Life. Immeasurably. Again and again, year after year.


"Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ."   ... Galations 1:10



Sara said...

I wholeheartedly agree! Not only is there fullness of joy in the doing, but there is also the relief of not doing things God never called us to in our pursuit of applause.

susanwalkergirl said...

Hi Debra,

I absolutely agree with you. Living that verse out in our daily lives frees us up to give freely without expectation or demands. There's joy to be found in living that way.

Thank you for sharing. It's a timely reminder on how I should approach each day.


Anonymous said...

Thank you. Sarah

Denise said...

This is a very timely reminder for me as I struggle with these very same emotions too. God reminds me that if we can give of ourselves, our hearts, our minds, and our souls with the same passion and love that God gave to us and still gives to us each and every day, we will have grasped the true concept of why it is so much better to give than to receive!

Visiting from Susan's blog; glad I dropped by! :)

Blessings and hugs,

Echoes From the Hill said...

Nice post.
How is Donna doing? She surely has been through a terribly difficult time. Hope she is recovering nicely, and will soon be out of the hospital. She is such a talented artist, and being able to create, might bring her some solace.