I like lists.
I like to make them.
It helps me to organize my thoughts.
And the older I get, the more necessary they become.
I like checking things off my lists, too.
Particularly my to-do lists.
And yes, I am one of “those people”: if I do a task that wasn’t already on the list, I will add it to the list just so I can check it off.
So most days – or at least most weeks – you will find a list somewhere in my life. On my desk. On my phone. On my desktop. On a scrap of paper.
And, like most days, today’s To Do List ranges from the mundane to the marvelous.
It includes the gross – cleaning the cat’s box – and ranges all the way to the divine – spending time in the Word of God, sharing my heart in this blog, communing with sisters in Christ.
As well as a little bit if everything in between.
But today’s To Do List has one thing in common with the every other day’s list.
Whether the list is in my busiest season or my slowest.
If it is during the holidays or while I am on vacation.
Whether I am in the US or traveling elsewhere.
There is a common thread the weaves through every list.
Or it should.
And on good days, it does.
Paul said it this way: “Whatever you do, do everything to the glory of God.” (I Corinthians 10)
According to God’s Word, that should be the overarching theme of my to-do list – and the list of every Christ-follower.
Whatever I do today – from the marvelous to the mundane – should be done for the glory of God.
In other words, everything I do today should serve to point either myself or others to HIS greatness, HIS goodness, HIS character, HIS heart.
It is easy to see how preparing the lesson for Sunday or writing this blog can be done for the glory of God. (It is also easy for both of those things to be about MY glory, not His.)
But how can I clean the cat’s box for the glory of God??
And what about all those other ordinary things that fill my days – like dishes and taking out the trash, answering e-mails and sitting in meetings, driving to and from work, running errands – how can I do those things for the glory of God?
There may be many answers, but, for me, the key is to invite Him in to each item on the list, being mindful of His presence that is with me everywhere I go, giving thanks in ALL of my circumstances, continuously talking to Him as I go through my day.
“God, I have to answer this e-mail and I am not sure what to say. Please guide my words.”
“God, the phone is ringing AGAIN. Help me to be pleasant even though I certainly don’t feel that way at the moment!”
“God, I cannot open this jar. Can You please help me?”
“God, I need a creative idea for this lesson. Whatcha got that’s good?”
“God, I forgot to print my grocery list AGAIN. Please help me to remember what’s on it.”
“God, I hate cleaning the cat’s box. But I am thankful for the cats and the joy they bring me. And I am thankful that they are healthy. Grateful that You have given me stewardship over them. And You said in Proverbs that the godly take care of their animals so I am cleaning this box as an act of worship – even though it is a really gross job.”
(Some items take more effort than others.)
“God, the way people drive around here makes me crazy! Did You see what that guy just did?! Please protect me from him – and protect him from himself. And God – whatever is happening in his heart and mind that is making him drive like that – would you intervene? Because I know YOU love him even though I really don’t!”
(And others take more effort still.)
And so on.
Because the bottom line is that life is not about me.
Not even a little bit.
I was created by God for His good pleasure, for HIS glory.
I was created to reflect Him in everything I do.
Because He left the BIG Job (His choice for the priority item on any Christ-follower’s to –do list) to me – and to the rest of His followers.
He intentionally designed our Daily Priority One to be this: “Go into all the world and make disciples…teaching them to obey everything I have commanded.” (Matthew 28)
And that might be a stated bullet point on my to-do list today – “share Jesus with so-and-so”.
But it is far more likely that the items on my to-do list are more daily, more mundane, more ordinary – and seemingly way less spiritual – than that.
Like cleaning the cat’s box.
Or driving to work.
But when I choose to do the ordinary things in step with my extraordinary God, He gets the glory.
And others notice.
And begin to ask “Why?”
And a conversation begins – that leads to the BIG Job getting done.
When I do everything for the glory of God.
(And, by the way, when I choose to do everything for the glory of God, I end up getting the blessing. Even though I am actively pointing to Him. Because He is good like that. Amazing grace, indeed!)