Yep, Mrs. Gill has influenced how my day starts. A simple prayer her former mother-in-law once shared with her has become one I now begin my day with. It goes like this:
“Lead me today to the ones I need, and to those who need me. And let something I do today have eternal significance. “
Contrary to what you may have imagined, retirement does not mean the end of work. Though one is no longer accountable to corporate dictates or quotas to attain, we are still responsible to our Creator and to those authorities He has put in place over us. So, there are still assignments to be completed for our good, the good of others and for His glory.
No, we no longer need to rise early to get to work on time and yes, we can take a nap in the afternoon if we choose to. We are free to choose how we spend our time, but we choose to be available to what God calls us to. And, it is good. As I have shared in the past, I no longer work for money, only for love. Not in order to gain love, but, in response to the love that’s been given to me.
As a believer in Jesus, I don’t need to earn His approval. He gave it freely the second I responded to His invitation to save me. Loving and serving others is how I respond to His gift- when it’s easy and when it’s hard, because He already did the hardest thing for me.
Our daily marching orders may not be as regimented as they once were, but I still want to live lives of purpose. So– I pray:
“Lead me today to those I need…”
- Biblical teaching from the pulpit focused on truth and insights that motivate me to put to use what I learn from our ongoing teaching of the Word of God, verse by verse. I need the knowledge shared and the challenge to live it out.
- My weekly Bible study where Godly women share wisdom I aspire to. I need their discernment and wisdom. I need the example of these women to propel me to respond well in my own life. I need the women at my table who share from their hearts. Their vulnerability and steadfast faith encourages me tear down the walls I often construct to keep others out.
- My weekly beach walk with friends. I need them so that I will stay committed to moving my body and enriching my spirit with the company of women who, by their example, cause me to not grow weary in doing right, but to persevere in faith through the ups and downs of life.
- My friends who I need to pray for me when I ask and when I don’t.
- A long phone conversation with a far-away kindred spirit because I need to be encouraged and uplifted, too.
- A visit with a young couple and their sweet little one, who are planting a new church in a largely unchurched area of our state. I need to support them in prayer and with my wallet. And I need to see how God is blessing the investment of time and love I made many years ago. I need to be reminded that love invested yields love paid forward.
“…And to those who need me…”
Because, good golly Miss Molly, it’s not just about what I need. So, our Lord graciously answers this prayer and leads me to these who need me, in a wide variety of ways with a varied cast of characters:
- I get to take a dear friend to her chemo appointment and then spend the afternoon with her. I get to cheer her on as she bulks up on as many calories and liquids as her frame will contain and we catch up with each other, uninterrupted by other distractions.
- I get to spend an afternoon cuddling, feeding and juggling precious twin baby girls while visiting with their mama.
- I get to give my daughter the afternoon off and take my darling grand girls to the library, the park and for Slurpees, all the while listening to them, praying for them and laughing with them. I get to remind them that I am for them and God is for them.
- I get to prepare dinner for our weekly time with our “adopted” daughter. We get to feed her a good meal and encourage her as she begins a new semester in her nursing education.
- At our monthly “SWAP Day” I get to share with my Bible Study friends from my excess as I seek to minimize my possessions and share my bounty with them.
- I get to accompany my husband to a physician appointment and to take notes for follow-up.
- I get to support my dear cousin as she has recently acted on one of the hardest decisions of her life. I get to remind her that even when it’s hard, it is still right and good, and that “joy comes in the morning.” And, I get to continue to pray for her as she walks through this valley.
- I get to welcome a houseful of family and give them a place to celebrate the Labor Day weekend. I get to shop for, prepare and clean up after numerous meals, wipe up lots of spills, dodge kids running through our normally quiet home and enjoy the beautiful picture of beloved faces around our massive table. I get to see every seat filled. I get to serve those who work hard in their own lives everyday. And– in my weariness when everyone left, I get to experience fullness of heart.
- I get to meet with a young woman struggling in a difficult marriage. I get to encourage her to persevere, to seek God’s wisdom in His word and to be in community with those who will support and encourage her.
“And, let something I do today have eternal significance.”
What does that mean? Englishman C.T. Studd, a cricketer, evangelist and later missionary to China, India and Africa said it best in his poem, “Only One Life “
Only one life
‘Twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ
I am challenged by this. Convicted by it. Shaken to the core by it. I confess to spending too many hours on too many things that have zero eternal significance. I could fill volumes with the time I have spent on that which will burn. God forgive me. And so, I will pray daily:
“Let something I do today have eternal significance.”
(And might I be so bold as to change it up a bit?)
Let many more things I do today have eternal significance.