October 4, 2009

Golden Rule IV--Stretching and Sharing

GoldenRule.com is a way of learning how to live into the dreams God has for each one of us. As children we have amazing imaginations and make grand plans for what we will be ‘when I grow up.’ Most of us, somewhere over the years of growing up, forget how to dream dreams and imagine grand things for ourselves. The child who said, “I’m going to be an astronaut,” settles for a 9-5 desk job. The athlete with dreams of big name stardom may become a Little League coach.

Did Henry David Thoreau have it right when he said, “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them”? When we give up our childish dreams and quietly despair of making a difference, we can become indifferent to the Golden Rule. “What difference does it make [to me] if I treat others well?” we may say. “They never did anything for me.”

God had a better plan. God never gives up on us. Jeremiah 29:11 says “For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you," declares the LORD, "and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you," declares the LORD, "and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile."

We may not, at first, see the bigger and better plan God has in store. The truth is, each of us can make a difference where we are. And in reality, we are exactly where we are supposed to be in God’s plan. That is a comforting thought, especially when the days feel like a treadmill—we’ve all had them.

Each of us is gifted and planted by God to live into the plans God has for us. We are meant to produce the good fruit that Jesus talks about in Matthew (7:17-20) and Luke (6:43-45). He says, “No good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit; for each tree is known by its own fruit. Figs are not gathered from thorns, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. The good person out of the good treasure of the heart produces good, and the evil person out of evil treasure produces evil; for it is out of the abundance of the heart that the mouth speaks.”

Forgetting that we are in God’s plan can lead us to drift into ways that are not God’s. Then it is simple to forget that we are supposed to be treating one another as fellow beloved children of our Father. Living the Golden Rule involves stretching ourselves and reaching beyond our comfort zone. Treating others like you want to be treated means expanding your horizons and realizing that we are in relationship with everyone else. We need to ‘walk a mile’ in each other’s shoes. Elvis Presley did a song (written by Joe South) with a refrain reminding us to “Walk a mile in my shoes, just walk a mile in my shoes before you abuse, criticize and accuse, then walk a mile in my shoes.”

The rest of the song has thought provoking lyrics as well (I’m not an Elvis fan, so I didn’t know this song existed until I did a search for ‘walk a mile’. Did you know there was a Walk A Mile in Her Shoes event to combat rape?—the internet is amazingly full of surprising trivia!) Anyway--

If I could be you, if you could be me
For just one hour, if we could find a way
To get inside each other's mind
If you could see you through my eyes
Instead your own ego I believe you'd be
I believe you'd be surprised to see
That you've been blind


Now if we spend the day
Throwin' stones at one another
'Cause I don't think, 'cause I don't think
Or wear my hair the same way you do
Well, I may be common people
But I'm your brother
And when you strike out
You're tryin' to hurt me
It's hurtin' you, Lord HAVE mercy


Now there are people on reservations
And out in the ghetto
And brother there, but, for the grace of God
Go you and I,
If I only had wings of a little angel
Don't you know, I'd fly
To the top of a mountain
And then I'd cry, cry, cry


In the second verse the powerful lyrics say, “Well, I may be common people, But I'm your brother And when you strike out You're tryin' to hurt me It's hurtin' you, Lord HAVE mercy.” GoldenRule.com is all about seeing God in each other and knowing that we are all brothers and sisters with the same Father. It doesn’t matter who we are because “there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Gal. 3:28. Really living the Golden Rule can make a big difference in our day-to-day relationships and in the world around us. The Golden Rule is about sharing God's goodness with one another. It's as easy as my grandson telling his cousin about the fish at the zoo.

GoldenRule.com believes God is on your side.
GoldenRule.com is producing good fruit.
GoldenRule.com is seeing God in each other.
GoldenRule.com is loving one another because we are one in Christ.”
GoldenRule.com is reaching outside your comfort zone.

Thinking back over the past month, what things linger with you? Has this journey in living as GoldenRule.com changed your outlook and the way you “love the Lord your God and your neighbor as yourself”? Are you more aware of how you treat others? Is there a call on your heart to do more? Have you been stretched outside of your comfort zone?

You might be inspired to do something new yourself like one of these people featured by People Magazine and the Oprah Show. http://www.oprah.com/article/oprahshow/20090416-tows-heroes-help-donate. One of these people said that all we need to do is, “See the need, see what you can do to help, and have a go.”

Is there a need only your heart can fill?
For the next few weeks you'll find Fall Meditations here. During Advent there will be thoughts on preparing for Christmas, and book specials. Hope to see you then.

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