Live Rightly and Well

Live Rightly and Well

I have heard of an unusual number of deaths recently – young and old. Family and friends scurry around to discover the best way to say who this person was to those that matter. In obituaries, tributes, conversations, people describe who this person was to them. Sometimes those memories are painful or difficult; sometimes it’s relief after a long illness or debilitating disease. Regardless, these situations are always sad on some level.

When my father died, those who came to the service had wonderful, fond, loving and funny stories to tell about him and what he meant to each person. He was a genuinely kind, affectionate, “care about you” kind of person. Three weeks after his death when I was in the grocery store, the butcher and the check-out people all wanted to know if he was ok. I told them that he’d passed away recently, and they were saddened that they hadn’t know when his service was, as they would have come. It’s the kind of impact he had.

I learned a lot from him about how you treat people and how to have that kind of impact – a life well-lived. Now, just to be clear, my father wasn’t a pastor, teacher or a professional of any kind. He was a construction worker, who had a difficult childhood, served in World War II and he and my mother had little in the way of worldly possessions.

So how would you like to be remembered? The Bible says, Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom (Psalms 90:12). What does it look like when we live rightly and well? I’d like to suggest three ways to work on faithful living.

1. Trust the Lord your God with All your Heart

            Throughout the Old Testament, God tried to teach the Children of Israel to trust Him. He performed one miraculous deed after another and still they did not trust Him. Now, don’t be too harsh on them, because we do the same. We see God do miraculous deeds in our lives, or do we?? Perhaps, He does, and we miss them because we don’t expect Him to do them. Are we more like the Children of Israel than we like to admit?

            Trusting the Lord is a lifetime journey. Once you discover His faithfulness in small things, you’ll begin to see His faithfulness in bigger things!

Trusting the Lord is a lifetime journey.

2. Love and Care for Yourself

            One of the most beloved verses in the Bible is called the Great Commandment found in   several places in the Bible. In Matthew 6:37-39 it reads, “Jesus replied [to the Pharisee’s question]: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'” We most often focus on the front part of the commandment or even the first part of the second phrase but seldom consider the last portion of the second phrase – “as yourself.”

            This commandment is telling us that we can only love our neighbor as much as we love ourselves. So, how much do you love yourself? Not the ego-centric kind of love but the honest-to-goodness kind of love that helps me treat myself well in all circumstances. In what I eat, where I go, with whom I associate, the decisions I make, where and how I live, and more! As I confront decisions/choices that I must make, what would I tell my neighbor, family member, friend, whom I love, to do and then decide to do that for myself.

3. Honor and Serve Others

            People are objects of God’s affection to be treated as such. To be loved, not used.  Mark 12:30-31 is clear “Love God – Love Others” - Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these." This is another Scripture where the Great Commandment appears.

            One time in Scripture, it’s important, two or more times, well, we really ought to pay attention! “No commandment is greater than these” tells us that this is a high priority in God’s world.

            From the time I first became a follower of Jesus, I learned to serve others. A girls group that I was part of mowed lawns in the summer, took food to those less fortunate than we were, helped struggling students with their school work, volunteered at a mental facility, bringing hope, music, Scripture and more. 

            As a grew older, I learned that serving others meant more than what I’d been doing. It also meant bringing dignity to those we were serving by allowing them to contribute to the activity, pay a small portion for what we brought or served and allowing them to feel a valued part of the service we were providing.

 Serving others meant more than what I’d been doing.

            Serving others is not just about giving, giving, giving but also about appreciating the gifts and uniqueness of each person that we serve. Each person is created in God’s image and for His glory and deserves to be treated as such.

            When we honor and serve those around us who need our help, we honor and serve God. Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me (Matthew 25:40).”

            Want to live rightly and well?? First, remember to look in the mirror before you leave home because you can only love others as much as you love yourself and Jesus loves you BIG!! Then, look for Jesus everywhere you go and serve a dose of dignity while you lend a hand!

 

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Karen McGuire

Karen McGuire came to Lead Like Jesus in February 2004 following the first Lead Like Jesus Celebration in Birmingham, Alabama, in November 2003, where she served as the volunteer coordinator. She comes with vast experience in local church ministry and denominational work and has been instrumental in the formation of several successful nonprofit ventures, including two churches, a seminary, a medical missions organization, and a welfare-to-work program. Karen served on several church staffs, held many volunteer positions in her local church, and is a Bible study teacher and seminar and retreat leader. She has one son and two young adult granddaughters.