After my time reading my Bible this morning, I sat reviewing and pondering my to-do list for this day. My list looked surprisingly familiar. Most of what I have on my list today was there yesterday. Wow, do I have quite a bit of carryover each day. It’s not that I took the day off from my task list yesterday. I was busy all day. I washed laundry. I wrote a couple of letters. I made meals for my family. I called a friend on the phone. I helped kids with homework.
As I was thinking this through, I focused on all I had not yet accomplished. My discouragement started to grow. Then I decided I was going to compare my to do list with the Proverbs 31 woman’s to do list. Here’s what I gathered that her list looked like.
Proverbs 31 Today’s To Do List
- Bring good to my husband (verse 12)
- Select wool and flax (verse 13)
- Bring food from afar (verse 14)
- Get up early to prepare breakfast for family & servants (verse 15)
- Contemplate purchase of a field, purchase field and plant a vineyard there (verse 16)
- Spend time making thread with the distaff & spindle (verse 19)
- Open my arms to those in need (verse 20)
- Craft linens & sashes to be sold (verse 24)
- Laugh at days to come (verse 25)
- Speak words of wisdom (verse 26)
I think this list could easily keep a Proverbs 31 woman busy for her entire life, not just for a day. I can’t help but wonder. Is this really a day for her? Should I take it from the Bible and make it my to do list, too? Should I be making direct comparisons of myself to this woman?
No. We should not compare ourselves. Not to each other, not to imagines in a magazine, not to characters in books and not to any videos we see played before our eyes. We should not compare our physical attributes, our gifts, our talents or the work that we do. We should not be comparing our to do lists. Look at what the Bible says; “Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else, for each one should carry his own load,” Galatians 6:4-5 (NIV).
God designed us with hands of perfection. He is the potter who lovingly shaped, molded and crafted us into what we are. “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do,” Ephesians 2:10 (NIV). God crafted us so that we could work for Him. We each have a very important role to play. We have a to do list that was written by God for our lives.
God is especially fond of you! He’s more than that, God is totally in LOVE with you! You captivate Him. You bring Him joy. God finds pleasure in you and in doing the work that He has planned for you.
So perhaps you are thinking now to yourself, what is this work that God has called me to? I have absolutely no idea.
I have a hard enough time trying to figure out what God wants me to do with my own life. Quite frequently, I find myself absorbed in trying to figure out what God’s will is for my life. I get so lost in trying to decipher and interpret messages about what I should do that I don’t actually do anything. Looking back, I’m pretty sure that’s not the good work that God planned in advance for me to do.
So what should we do?
“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31
“The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.” Galatians 5:6
“Always give yourselves fully to the work of the LORD, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” 1 Corinthians 15:58
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9
That sure sounds a lot like, “Love the Lord your God will 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,” Matthew 22:27-39
All of this is not a summary of what happens in one day. Why would we be here for a lifetime if God wanted us to accomplish all that He had for us in just one day? God, in all of His might and perfection, did not create the world and everything in it in one day.
Look what it says in James 5:7-8 from the Message translation, “Meanwhile, friends, wait patiently for the Master’s Arrival. You see farmers do this all the time, waiting for their valuable crops to mature, patiently letting the rain do its slow but sure work. Be patient like that. Stay steady and strong. The Master could arrive at any time.”
Slow, but sure. Isn’t that what we are longing for? Yearning to get out of the frantic pace of life’s traffic jam so that we can slowly travel along the horizon soaking in the view of this magnificent journey called life. A little today, a little tomorrow, a little more the day after that.
Love God and do it all for His glory. Step out in faith. Take heart and do not give up, there will be a harvest time. Just take one small step, work on one small task, interact with one single person; one at a time. Jesus walked the same way we do, by putting one foot in front of the other. When Jesus spoke He stressed the importance of going after the one; the one sheep, the one coin, the one son. God celebrates the one!
As we review our to do list may we, too, celebrate the one. Cheers to the one basket of laundry folded! Hurray to the one phone call made! Ovations to the one project completed! Roar of applause to the one chapter read out of the Bible! Yeah for the one minute of prayer! Yahoo to the one page colored with a child! Yippee for the one encouraging card for a spouse! Hallelujah to the one God whom we love and serve with everything we have!
Today, may you read this prayer in such a way that the words come from your heart and lips, not from my own.
Oh how great You are that You could place billions of stars in the heavens, billions of people on this planet, yet You tenderly love and cherish me. I am just one of so very many, yet to You I am a treasure.
LORD help me to receive Your perfect and gracious love in this day. Please reaffirm in my heart and in my life that I am one that You sacrificed for. I am one that You sought after. I am one that You died for. I am one that has received the precious gift of eternal life.
Because of all You have given for me, may I return Your love to You by also seeking out the one. The one who is lost, the one who is wounded, the one who is hurting, and the one who is in need. In Jesus name, Amen.