“The Benediction Project”
Greetings to each of you dear readers! I trust that your celebrations of the birth of Jesus included some awareness of and experiencing of the gentle yet powerful grace of God unleashed by the miracle of the Incarnation.
In this posting I will offer five more categories of “What I most love doing.” You may wish to read the post of November 30, 2011 before reading these thoughts.
Spending Time with Family and Friends
While actually an introvert by nature, I am still a “people-person.” It is a privilege and pleasure to talk with, eat with and play with my dear family members, and to interact with good friends. Substantial, stimulating conversation is a special treat. In the interest of full disclosure, however, I should add that time with family and friends, while priceless, is becoming more and more difficult for me due to my failing heart and difficult breathing.
Spending Time with God
This activity and the one following are my favorites of the ten items in these two blog postings. Which of these has priority? Well, they intertwine quite a bit, but I have to say that spending time with God is what I love doing most.
I find that sitting in bed, stretching out on a recliner, and sitting at my home office desk are three postures/places that are most conducive to listening to God, confessing to God, offering praises to God, and discussing with God the needs of others and myself. Sometimes I am reading the Bible during this time, sometimes I am reading stimulating literature, and sometimes I am just floating along weaving in and out of the above practices and subject matter.
Resting and Thinking Good Thoughts
As indicated above, this activity overlaps significantly with the previous one. One way I distinguish these two is my posture. In resting I am more horizontal, while in spending time with God I am somewhat more vertical (from my waist up, that is—I rarely stand or kneel, and I walk only enough to transport my anatomy from point A to point B).
I call this category “resting and thinking good thoughts.” Some of the time I fall asleep, but often I lie on the bed with no need for sleep—just rest and restoration. I love these times, not because I can simply “do nothing,” but because I can do everything—in my mind. I might close my eyes and recite a list of things very important to me (such as my top twelve scripture texts) or place myself (in my thoughts) in the middle of an adventure story that I make up as I go along. Or I teach a class or preach a sermon. I am in my glory (actually God’s glory) during these times.
Lest some of you doubt that I am normal, I do enjoy good entertainment and things that are just plain fun. Because I seldom leave the house, however, my fun activities are now much more limited than ever: listening to music, listening to talk radio, playing computer games, romancing, playing table games, enjoying food and drink, doing crossword puzzles, reading, and watching television about thirty to sixty minutes a day. I also enjoy sitting or lying in the yard, as long as I am totally in the shade. Because I am immunosuppressed I must be diligent about avoiding sunlight, which may cause—and already has in my case—skin cancer.
Participating in the Work of God Around the World
My final activity—the last category of things I most love doing—is being actively involved in the work of the Holy Spirit advancing Christ’s kingdom ministry through love, justice and mercy.
I deliberately used the word “actively” even though I cannot pack groceries for local and global folks in need, work a telephone crisis hotline, or help caulk a drafty house in Uzbekistan or Minneapolis. I no longer preach or teach in formal settings, nor do I attend planning meetings for wholistic ministry strategy or participate in group prayer meetings.
I try, however, to be alert to and active in the great advancement of God’s kingdom around the world. I write both for national and international audiences. I follow closely several excellent publications that document the exciting developments in my country and many others. I pray for specific missionaries and ministries, including my own church, and find great delight in being able to give financially so that others may continue to do the works of Jesus in this terribly needy world.
Well, these are a few of my favorite things. As I said in the previous posting, I am not presenting these items as some ideal list. Your list may look different, but as long as you try to put down on paper what you most enjoy doing and actually do, I believe you will be helped greatly as you set the direction for the rest of your life. A truly blessed New Year to each of you!