From a little hair cut I came to all these thoughts. I find it amazing that the simple things in life can make us take deep looks at ourselves.
This past Sunday, after I had blown my hair completely dry, I looked in the mirror and said “No more! Today I’m cutting it right now!” So I did. I rewet my hair. Took some of the hair on the side in my hands and cut about 3-4 inches off. Then I lined up the rest of my hair to that length. My hair is now just above my shoulders.
I went to our evening service at church, where I was greeted over the night by several nice comments and eyes that showed real joy and delight. So I am going to take all of the compliments as genuine, and not just the kind of niceties that people say when they notice something.
And I believe I can do that because: Last time I cut my hair (about a year ago) I took off 6 inches…NO ONE noticed…or at least they said nothing.
The difference ….. 1 inch.
Last year my hair length ended up being just at my collar bone. This time it is above my shoulders. I had added 1 inch to how far up I cut.
1 inch has made all the difference.
Which got me to thinking…what other situations could I give “1 inch” more effort to. And would it make a difference?
Colossians 3:23 – 24 (NIV) says:
23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart,
as working for the Lord, not for human masters,
24since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward.
It is the Lord Christ you are serving.
And while I believe this applies to everything we do I remembered another verse about what God requires of us. Micah 6:8 New Living Translation (NLT)
8 No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good,
and this is what he requires of you:
to do what is right, to love mercy,
and to walk humbly with your God.
So, let us focus on that momentarily.
The Lord requires us to do what is right:
Why do the right thing? Is there even a “right” way of acting?
I mean in today’s society, and for the last 30 years, we have come to believe that everyone has their own opinion and that each opinion is as valid as the next.
Who cares? God cares!
God has a whole set of ideas that constitute right living. By obeying these commands, we treat people right and fairly. We treat God in the way He deserves. We treat ourselves appropriately.
For us Christians there is a “right” way to live. It is contained in the Bible from cover to cover. It is summed up in these two things: Love God with all your heart mind and soul and love your neighbor (everyone else) as you love yourself.
Could I (or you) go an extra inch towards doing what is right? It is called integrity—doing what is right because it is right. (not because someone will notice). Where could you do better at living with integrity—doing what is right?
At work? (I could clock in 5 minutes early every day and do not clock out until the time is straight up on the hour,… stay out of office politics and gossip,… treat clients as if they were the most important person in the world (at least while with them or on the phone with them), …and give rides to co-workers when their car is at the shop—even if they live across town,)
At home? (do more than my share of the household chores, …do little things for no reason for my loved ones, …run errands for someone in my family, …give up my plans to attend plans/ events for another member of the family,…and listen patiently to my child even when a “dialogue” to him/her really means they spill out a monologue at me for over an hour—about something I know nothing about)
On our own time? (open doors for everyone not just the elderly,… peacefully let other cars into the traffic lane I am in (rather than flipping them off or grumbling about it to myself),… treat the people behind the sales counter as if they are my favorite person today by sharing a smile/ making conversation/ giving him a compliment,… if someone is short on money for their purchase in front of me at the line—go ahead and make up the difference or just purchase it for them,… and thank EVERY military person (current or vetran) for their service and keeping us safe ( they can be found in base towns across America and are frequently in airports).
The Lord requires us to love mercy:
What does mercy even mean? The online dictionary defines it this way: compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm. It also says compassion and grace are similar words.
Where could we show an inch more compassion and grace?
How about with our children when they blow it in some way? How about we just stay calm and say “ok, well there is always tomorrow and a chance to start over”?
How about when we pass homeless people—we can look them straight in the eye (instead of turning the other way) and we can say “Good morning” the same way we would to someone important?
How about when things go wrong, we forgive and look for solutions and/or insights in how to handle things better next time? (Rather than exploding externally or even internally and gossiping about the issue).
How about at the holidays giving gifts to people who are less fortunate and live at homeless or domestic violence shelters or even rehabs? How about toys for inmate’s children?
The Lord requires us to walk humbly with God.
Humbly= behaving in a way that shows or suggests a modest or low estimate of one’s importance; or unpretentiously.
This reminds me of the religious man who prayed out loud about how great he was and all he had done for God and society. That is a very “look at me” attitude.
Then there was a regular average woman. She simply said quietly in her heart “I am sorry. Help me in my belief. Help me do your will. Help me love you more.” Now this person was humble before the Lord.
There are times to go boldly before the throne. Yet, that never means hyping up our own efforts, activities, and actions. We don’t boldly tell God “I have done x, y, and z”. Anything we do correctly we have done with the help of God and not on our own. Even when we are not following God, when we do something well it is because of the gifts He has given us at the beginning of life.
We owe God for every good thing. We owe God praise from a place of humility. We need to honor and worship God. That means more than singing a song in church on Sunday morning.
This is hard for me. I grew up experiencing praise and worship only happening in church or chapel, a concert, or a retreat. But I have had times of worshiping God on my own, where no one can see or disturb me. I need to be better at doing it though. While it should come naturally it does not for me. If it does for you—I hope it will for me too. So this is where I could give several more inches of effort and participation in my walk with Jesus.
What about you? Where could you give more effort in your humble walk with the Lord?
Again, from a little hair cut I came to all these thoughts. I find it amazing that the simple things in life can make us take deep looks at ourselves. All of this is just gasoline for the fire that burns bright inside you to be the best you can be.
Maybe none of these examples apply to you. Perhaps my examples are things you already do well. FABULOUS!
If there are ways you can go one step further in some area of your life, put in one more inch of effort, I would love you to share that in the comments.
C’mon guys…I put myself out there telling you how I can do better…join me in being vulnerable. Sometimes when we list things they stick in our minds longer.
Hoping to hear from you.
Until Next Time~