Scripture: Romans 12:9-21
Key verse: (9) “Let love be genuine.”
Reflection: What’s on your to-do list today? This week mine includes:
1. Write the liturgy for Ash Wednesday
2. Contact panelists for March 18th lecture on “Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow”
3. Prepare for Disciple Bible Study
4. Write Sermon
5. Pastoral calls/appointments
6. Get this devotional written
7. Make leadership recruitment call
8. Review data from Dream Day
These are some of the items on my to-do list, along with regularly standing meetings, and advancing some big-picture, long-term objectives, and things that arise from our pastoral on-call system. Some of these will be checked off by the time you read this. What a great feeling.
What does your to-do list say about who you are? How we spend our time ultimately defines who we are. In reviewing my own to-do list, I realized no family related items are on there. I’ve done family related things this week, but the people I love the most are under-represented on my to-do list. Perhaps I have some work to do there.
Today’s reading from Romans 12 offers Paul’s “to-do” list for the church in Rome, and for Christians throughout history. Paul normally does not speak in the imperative this much. But here, he provides a comprehensive list of “to-do’s,” along with a few “don’ts”:
1. Let love be genuine.
2. Hate what is evil.
3. Hold fast to what is good.
4. Love one another like family.
5. Outdo one another in showing honor.
6. Do not lag in zeal.
7. Be ardent in spirit.
8. Serve the Lord.
9. Rejoice in hope.
10. Be patient in suffering.
11. Persevere in prayer.
12. Contribute to the needs of the saints.
13. Extend hospitality to strangers.
14. Bless those who persecute you.
15. Rejoice with those who rejoice.
16. Weep with those who weep.
17. Live in harmony with one another.
18. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly.
19. Do not claim to be wiser than you are.
20. Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought of what is noble is the sight of all.
21. If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.
22. Never avenge yourself
23. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
That’s quite a “to-do” list. I’m not sure we ever get to check any of these off the list. But to the degree we spend our time on these things, we will find ourselves living into our Christian identity.
Prayer: Fill me with your Spirit this day, O Lord, that amid the ‘to-do’s” of my life, I might accomplish the “to-do’s” of faith. Let my love be genuine. Help me overcome evil with good. Empower me to live into my faith, in Christ’s name I pray. Amen.
Author: Joe Clifford
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].