Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The List

I have been a list maker for as long as I can remember. When I was in school, my list read something like this: write paper for literature class, review chapter 11 for history, ask mom if Lisa can come over on Friday.

In college it looked similar, except there was no asking mom and I added laundry and grocery shopping to the list. Cooking for one hardly seems like cooking so it didn't make the list. I did have another list of what I was going to cook and eat, otherwise how would I be sure to get what I needed at the grocery store?

I know that when I was a young wife I definitely mastered the list. I loved the list! I ordered my day and got things done. And I loved crossing off all my plans as they were completed. What a sense of accomplishment! I planned meals for my family and made a grocery list accordingly. I broke down the household cleaning and chores into days and got all of it done most of the time--in addition to serving in the church and homeschooling! Really. I'm not making this up. I truly was on top of things for awhile.

Nowadays, I have joined the world of the frazzled, working moms. And (surprise!) I am frazzled! My house seems to be a constant mess. Meals usually consist of one main dish. It is your lucky day if I prepared some vegetables or a salad and bread. 

And that to-do list that I once LOVED and enjoyed marking off? Well, now it is longer than ever and rarely or never accomplished. So, now, I HATE the list!

Before the list was telling me, "Good job! Way to go, you did it!" Now, that same list mocks me daily and snickers, "Well, how about that? You didn't manage to even get one of these things done today! Way to go!" Stupid list.

I could give up the list altogether. However, I am two things: forgetful and obsessive. That means that I often worry that I will forget something important. So while I may not need to write down things like "vacuum" or "laundry," it is helpful for me to write down little things I need to do that might get overlooked. If I have an appointment, it is good for me to write it down. Otherwise, I will either forget and miss it, or I will constantly remind myself not to forget it. So, I guess that stupid list has its good points.

Sometimes when God nudges my heart about a friend, I will put them on my list. A written reminder to "call Rita" or "write a note to Ashley" helps me to minister grace and stay connected with others. Okay, maybe the list is not so stupid after all. Maybe it is even a good thing.

And always, always the list tells me to write. WRITE it says. WRITE. WRITE.WRITE. And here I am writing.

Generally, "write" gets moved from day to day as the demands of work and wife and mommy take precedent. Still, the words are there to remind me that I have a goal; that I have a calling and I am not to let go. Times get busy and crazy and I get harried, yet I am compelled to share how the grace of God is working in my life. I want to encourage believers to ask for more faith. I want to challenge myself to see God at work around me. I want to offer a taste of the sweet life of knowing Christ to those souls still separated from hope. I want to leave something behind me that testifies.

God gave His own list to Moses to take to the Israelites. He wrote them with His own finger on tablets of stone. The list was called the Ten Commandments. God's list doesn't change from day to day like mine does. It is always the same. Consistent. Perfect. Eternal.

When I tried keeping God's list I found I couldn't. And if you try you will find the same thing. There are two purposes in His List: 1) to declare Who He is and 2) to show us we are not Him. 

When I discovered I failed at perfection, then I knew I needed Him. I knew I needed Someone bigger and stronger than me. I knew I needed a Savior. Paul says in Galatians 3:24, "So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith." It was by attempting to follow the law, that I saw my own shortcomings (sin) and thus the law led me to Christ. The list I could not do, Christ did on my behalf.

"So now we have a high priest who perfectly fits our needs: completely holy, uncompromised by sin, with authority extending as high as God's presence in heaven itself. Unlike the other high priests, he doesn't have to offer sacrifices for his own sins every day before he can get around to us and our sins. He's done it, once and for all: offered up himself as the sacrifice. The law appoints as high priests men who are never able to get the job done right. But this intervening command of God, which came later, appoints the Son, who is absolutely, eternally perfect." Hebrews 7:26-27 (MSG)

Thank You Father for sending Your Son, Jesus, the Perfect Sacrifice for my sins that I may have freedom and forgiveness.

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