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A Pre-Christmas TO-DO List

by Pastor Ralph J. Mineo

I’ve often joked that I could make the Guinness Book of World Records for “The Most To-Do Lists.” Some of my lists are written down and include things I “have” to do. Other lists include things I “want” to do. Still other lists are part of routine things I do (such as write a devotion like this!). To-do lists help me keep focused and get important things done. I’m also reminded that there are “things to-do” that I don’t get done. I have work to do!

I think it’s safe to say that the Bible contains many to-do lists. We especially need to listen to the things Jesus asks us to do. There are many! Here’s one great thing to put on our to-do list: “do what Jesus asks us to do!”

Jesus once said that the world, the sun, the moon, the stars will pass away (die!) — but his word will never die! The words of Jesus are living words. This is a “living word.” The words of Jesus are life-giving!

Paul once said the faith comes through hearing. Faith grows and becomes stronger when the word of God is spoken, and listened to. Here’s a thing to do: read, listen, study, pay attention to the words of Jesus, and put them into practice.

As Jesus looked at the end of life (the life of the world, and our personal lives), he once said that we should stand up and hold our head high. The translation I like the best is: “stand on tiptoe.” This means we need to put effort into listening to the words of Jesus. We need to stop, pause, and rise ABOVE our to-do lists. We need to look for signs of God. What is God doing in my life and in the world? Stand on tiptoe and look around for the signs of God’s presence! Jesus indicates that we need to put effort into this. Stand on tiptoe!

Jesus also taught that we need to pray. “Pray always,” he said. We need to carve out time to pray. Let’s be clear, prayer is NOT just asking for things. Prayer is having a two-way relationship with God. Prayer doesn’t always involve words. But prayer always involves the presence of God. God promises to be there when we pray. That’s not our doing. Our doing is to pay attention to God.

Stand on tiptoe. Listen to the word of God, to the loving words and challenges of Jesus. And pray. Pray for faith. Pray for others in need. Pray for yourself. Let God hug you and hold you, even without words. This is pretty good spiritual “to-do list!”

The Good News is that God will continue to speak a word to us. When we look for signs of God’s presence in our lives, God is already there. When we pray, God is already present.

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