A Simple Life, a Childlike Faith

A Simple Life, a Childlike Faith


To be or to do

posted by Linda G. Howard

I’m not telling you anything new.  God wants us to be and then we will do.  It isn’t that God is against doers.

However, he knows that doers become rigid and Pharisees, pointing a finger at everyone who doesn’t live up to our standards.  Or we become lazy and guilt-ridden Pharisees, requiring others to do what we have failed to do.  Therefore, God goes after our hearts and requires us to be.  …to be witnesses …to be my people …to be the children of God.

Of course, we all have our TO DO lists.  We place them in our top shirt pocket so that they are easily accessible.  They are positioned in our day-timers, iPhones or Androids at the top of the calendar page.  We may hold them in our minds, rehearsing them as we go through the day.

Years ago, I was challenged by Chip Ingram, the radio and TV teacher, to make a TO BE list.  You see if you become something, then you will do it automatically.  I don’t need a list to be a mother.  I am a mother.   My list on how to do wife would be much too long.  My husband is content for me to be his wife.

Driving down I-95, I listened and God spoke to my heart regarding this list.  Ingram was gracious enough to give some examples from his TO BE LIST.  I don’t remember what they were but I was inspired to make my own list as soon as I got home.

My list contains 13 things.  These are things that I know God wants me to be and things that I want to be.  They are:

  1. a woman of God.
  2. a wife.
  3. a person of prayer and the word of God.
  4. a friend to my child, grandchildren and all people God puts in my life.
  5. a pastor.
  6. an evangelist.
  7. a giver.
  8. a person who is physically and mentally fit.
  9. a hostess.
  10. a writer.
  11. a choir director.
  12. a teacher/preacher of God’s word.
  13. a gardener.

For more than a year, this list became part of my devotions.  I would rehearse them each day.  Some of them were simple.  Number two was:  To be a godly, kind, gracious and wise wife who loves unconditionally.  Number eight was:  To be a person who is physically and mentally fit.  Others were pretty intricate.  Number one:  To be a woman of God who lives in integrity and love so others will see Jesus in me and desire God’s grace.

I am not a gifted evangelist.  In fact, the joke in all the churches where I’ve held positions has been,  “If Linda invites them, they WILL NOT come.”  If someone else could get them there, I could almost always keep them because I knew how to be a pastor.  However, I’ve always desired to be an evangelist.  I wanted to be able to easily lead people into a salvation experience.

Don’t get me wrong, I have helped hundreds of people into a saving relationship with Jesus but I am acutely aware that this was not one of the gifts God gave me.  Yet, it’s always been something I wanted to be able to be.  Therefore, number six on my list became:  To be an evangelist who is able to lead people to God’s unconditional, agape love and salvation. 

Another thing that I knew needed to be was my number 10:  To be a writer whose works are able to bless many people.  One of my gifts is writing.  However, I had let that gift languish for too many years.  During the past few years in my sleep, I would occasionally dream that someone else was taking care of a boy child that God had given to me.  When I would awaken, I always knew that this was my writing.

I felt that the time had come for me to begin writing again.  But I needed an outlet and a purpose.  I wanted to write about Special Gathering, which is a ministry within the mentally challenged community.  Again, I wasn’t sure how or where to begin.

For the past five years, God has allowed both of these heart-dreams on my list to come into being.  The specialgathering webloghas opened interesting doors for my writing.  Daily, I require myself to be disciplined enough to make an entry.  I’ve had 10 magazine articles published.

In addition, the Lord has led me to become a part-time chaplain at two local restaurants.  I am able to share the love of Jesus with these wonderful young people almost daily.  These are truly heart-dreams that God has allowed to come into being.

This is the difference between the TO BE list and the TO DO list.  It moves us from the requirements of the law into the grace of God’s loving purpose for each of us.

Have you ever thought of starting a TO BE list?  What are your dreams?  Do they belong on your TO BE list?



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