“Three Simple Rules”

So … have you made any New Year’s resolutions?

I am grateful for the new beginnings in life. Most often beginnings come with endings. The endings, I don’t like. But the endings are inevitable. The year of 2008 is over. It is done. We cannot go back and undo or redo. We now look forward to 2009.

In the weekend services of January 3 and 4 at West Side UMC, I shared a bit from Reuben P. Job’s book, Three Simple Rules, and this book will continue to be the topic of discussion at our Thursday morning Bible Study. The book is an interpretation of John Wesley’s rules: “Do no harm,” “Do good,” and “Stay in love with God.”

There is one phrase from the book that keeps going through my mind. In the introduction Job asks …

Is our way of living life-giving rather than life-draining? Does it enhance the quality of life of others? (13).

I want my life to be life-giving. I want to add value to others. That sounds rather ambitious in itself, but when you look at how Jesus’ life was life-giving, it becomes more challenging. He gave life to others through the literal giving of his physical life. To be life-giving calls us to live sacrificially.

The topic of New Year’s resolutions usually center around self-care. Reuben Job challenges us, saying …

Taking appropriate care of self and living selflessly are not opposites. They are each essential elements of a healthy and productive life (46). … Self-care begins with the acknowledgment and reminder that each one of us is the object of God’s love (47).

Therefore, as we think about how we are going to take care of ourselves, living more healthy and productive lives, let us think about how we are going to care for others. Let us vow to “Do no harm” and “Do good.” Let us ask ourselves how we might help others live more healthy and productive lives.

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