Are You Living To Do or Living To Serve?

I like to make “to do” lists.  I don’t trust myself to remember the various big and little chores I need to do at home or at work so I always have a list for both.    The list is great for helping me keep track of projects and staying on top of things.  I feel a sense of accomplishment when I can cross something off of the list.  A close friend recently asked me about my attention to my list.  I appreciate his candor and honesty, and it has really gotten me to think about things.

In short, his point was do you control the lists or they control you?  They can certainly be a useful tool, but they also have the potential to control you and dominate your thoughts and time.  I began to wonder if my lists were a false idol.  I have used the lists to organize my time and how you spend your time is how you identify your priorities.   Household chores and work tasks are critical and should not be taken lightly but nobody on their death bed ever claimed that they wished they had done a better job of mowing their grass. 

A workaholic is not honoring God.  If you make your work at home or at work your master, you have in essence place another god before Him.  My friend and I both had our houses flooded in 2016.  I admire his ability to go on a vacation during the recovery and rest and renew his physical, mental, and spiritual strength.   I have tended to take on a pit bull attitude with big projects – bite down and stay with it until the end.   I also don’t think approach is consistent with Holy scripture.  

Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.  Six days you shall labor and do all your work but the seventh ay is a Sabbath to the Lord your God.  On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns.  For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day.  Therefore, the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy” (Exodus 8-11).

Living according to lists is living a life “to do.”  However, we are not called to do but rather “to serve.”  Perhaps instead of numbering my chores I should consider the prayer of Moses in Psalm 90:12.  “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”  Living a life to serve takes away the inward focus and replaces it with an outward focus to be the Body of Christ. 

We can number our days by asking God each day “What can I do this day to advance Your kingdom?  How can I make my life a living sacrifice?  Numbering your days does not require moving mountains.  But when you realize that your days are numbered and time is precious, you begin to want to use your time wisely.  Using your time wisely is certainly the fruit of a heart yearning for God’s wisdom. 

Todd Shupe is the President of DrToddShupe.com and is a well recognized expert on wood-based housing and wood science.  Shupe worked as a  professor and lab director at LSU for 18 years and Quality Manager for Eco Environmental (Louisville, KY) for 2 years. He is active in several ministries including his Christian blog ToddShupe.com. Todd is the Secretary of the Baton Rouge District of United Methodist Men, Database Coordinator for Gulf South Men, and volunteer for the Walk to Emmaus, Grace Camp, Iron Sharpens Iron, Open Air Ministries, HOPE Ministries food pantry. Todd is currently preparing to be a Men’s Ministry Specialist through the General Commission of United Methodist Men.