Yogi Berra said, “You can see a lot by looking.” What do you see when you look into the mirror? Are you busy? Are you spread so thin trying to do all the good you can to all the people you can that life is an inch deep but a mile wide? When adversity finds you, will you have the root system to hang on to life and draw enough nourishment to weather the scorching droughts, monsoon rains, and gale force winds that inevitably come?
The seven weeks before Easter known as Lent is a good time to look hard in the mirror. Read the Bible and talk with God about what you read. How are you doing with the Ten Commandments? Is the fruit of the Spirit growing in you? Are you experiencing the blessings Jesus described on the Sermon on the Mount?
“God is love” and His plans are “to prosper you and not to harm you”. Consequently, comparing our path through life to His map for us is a good plumb line. The comparison reveals where life needs a course correction. Employing spiritual disciplines such as silence (turning off the TV, radio, Facebook, movies, etc.), fasting (doing without something that brings great pleasure which you will miss often in turn reminds you to focus on the Father and tend to your relationship with Him and others), or simplicity help clean our mirror in order to see ourselves as we really are, not as we may think that we are. In addition, a spiritual friend is a fabulous resource in self-reflection.
Most of us need to abandon the idea we can do good in ever expanding ways. Sustained involvement in a few things brings a greater return on investment than pennies of time invested across too many endeavors. Where is the balance between quality and quantity? Are you grasping for it or is the peace and fulfillment you enjoy evidence you are where you want to be; where you believe you are?
Jesus sent the apostles out two by two. Jesus immersed himself in a small group of twelve. His example demonstrates the need for doing good with others. I can influence my neighborhood, work place and family. Imagine the wave of good that could come about if half the 15,000 residents of Siloam Springs cared for those around them in more than superficial ways. What would happen if all Christ followers in this community walked their spheres of influence praying, “God, who do you want me to speak to? What do you want me to do today for others and with others?”
People need to be more than projects. We need to do life together. Richard Foster observed that “Superficiality is the curse of our age.” Are our attempts to connect with God through prayer, Scripture reading, and other spiritual disciplines superficial?
What do others see when they look at you and me? Do they see and experience in shared moments someone who genuinely loves God and others or simply a person going through the motions checking off items on a to-do list all the while living under the false assumption that doing more good than harm is a worthy goal?“
“You can see a lot by looking.” What do you see?