“TO-DO AND TO-BE”                                                 By Pastor YAU

Text: Galatians 5:22-25                                                  April 27, 2008.

 

INTRODUCTION:

1)       The to-do list: What’s on your to-do list today? Cleaning an overstuffed closet? Calculating a financial report at work? Paying your bills? Finishing a term-paper? Visit a sick friend in the hospital? A phone call you have thought of making for sometime? The list seems will never end. We all have things we need or want to get done today whether we’ve written down or not. They are important for us to accomplish.

2)       The to-be list:  While the to-do list is helpful or even important to get things done, there is another list that is even more needed and important: a to-be list. The infamous scientist Albert Einstein said, “Try not to become a man of success but rather to become a man of value.” Few of us may achieve what Einstein had achieved in terms of success but all of us may achieve to become men of high value, character and virtues. People like Einstein certainly will be remembered and honored because of their achievement, but we all may certainly be remembered and honored because of our value.

 

THE UPSIDE OF THE TO-DO LIST?:

1)    To-do is being responsible: After God created the Garden of Eden, He created man and gave him jobs he needed to perform to take care of the garden. The Bible says, “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden to work it and take care of it.” (Genesis 2:15)God placed responsibility on Adam to take care the Garden God also places us in places we need to take care of things. Being responsible at home, at work, in school, to ourselves and to other is honoring God. We need to be responsible people both to God and to people around us.

2)     To-do is being productive: When God placed Adam in the Garden, he is supposed to work with trees, flowers, plants and everything else in it to make them work, grow, bloom and produce fruits. God wants to see us being productive, useful and grow things He gave us to grow: be it a family, school work, a job or in ministry. What-ever God may put you to do, do your best to make things grow. To be productive is to do things right, do well and being contributing members of the community where we belong. No one should live on others. We all need to live and give. Paul advised the church in Thessalonica that “if a man would not work, he should not eat.” (2 Thessalonians. 3:10)

3)    To-do is being worthy: Being worthy is being valuable to others where God places us. In any community where we may exist, each member occupies a position that entitles him privileges of giving and receiving love, support, care and nurturing. Everyone is given opportunity to give and receive to make life meaningful. When we are diligent in our to-do responsibility, we are worthy and valuable members of that community. No one should be worthless. Paul also encouraged the Ephesians to be “worthy of the calling they received.” (Eph. 3:1)

4)    To-do is about results: If you are good in doing what need to be done on a regular basis and persistent in doing that, chances are you get lot more done and harvest more results. If any lazy people become successful by pure luck, that should not be good example for anyone. Hard work and being diligent are good habits that lead to success in many areas of life. King Solomon illustrated the point by using the diligence of ants and their security nest. (Prov. 6:6-8)

 

THE DOWNSIDE OF THE TO-DO LIST: There are problems. . .

1)    The problem of failure: Just sit down and write up a list of things you need to do or want to do you may need a whole notepad. If you are a regular people like me, you will have so many things you need to do plus many others you want to do and the list will grow everyday. With that limited time, energy and resource, we can only do a few selective items on that list. Most of us will settle with that and leave with a feeling of inadequate, unaccomplished or even failure. We never get things done the way we want them to. Even Prophet Elijah felt inadequate and failure when he compared his life with that of his ancestors. (1 Kings 19:4)

2)    The problem of priority: Most of us will do those things on the list that are urgent or of necessity instead of priority of value in our life. We compromise priority and value for practical urgent needs. Even though we may get something done, but they are not the most important or the highest value to our life. You may be very busy but busy for low or no value things. Jesus admonished Mary because she had chosen the wrong priority. (Luke 10:41-42)

3)    The problem of balancing: Everyone knows the importance of a balanced life in physical and emotional, in material and spiritual. When we follow a to-do list, most of the things in most people are things of everyday life and needs: job, family, shopping, school and social activities. Many people will put items of relationship or spiritual on the top of their lists. They allow everyday demands to take control of their time, energy and resource. That’s why many people are very busy with work, school, buying and social activity leaving their emotional and spiritual tanks all empty that they feel life is all demands and no replenishment and no meaning. Jesus offers a better way to meet life’s demands by seeking first the Kingdom of God. (Matthew 6:33)

4)    The problem of purpose: Many people live their life by meeting demands and needs of this life. Most of these people are trying to get the ends met. They think that is their purpose of life until they begin to feel the need of a purpose and they can’t find any. The reason the Rick Warren’s book, The Purpose Driven Life, scored the best seller for months reflects the fact that people are searching of a better and higher purpose of life. We need to change our focus, more than just following our to-do list. We need to find meaning and purpose of doing things. Paul expressed that his purpose of life is to receive the crown of glory on the day when he sees Jesus. That is why he was able to forsake all the things of this world in order to get to know Christ. (Philippians 3:7-8)

 

BESIDES THE TO-DO LIST: To-do is about what you do and what you have for yourself, but to-be is about who you are and what you mean to others. While the world values what you do and have, God values more who you are and what you mean to Him and His Kingdom. Focusing on to-do serves personal goal and purpose, focusing on who you are and what you mean to God serves the purpose of God. God has changed the purpose of life for those who were born again in His Son Jesus Christ. “If anyone who is in Christ, he is a new creation, the old has gone, the new has come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17) Here is the to-be list:

1)     Be a man of love: The love of God has first changed him and through him to change others. His life is a result of God’s love and the love of God will show to others through his interaction with them. In words and deed, he shows love to God and people.

2)     Be a man of joy:  Joy is the inner feeling of life while happiness is the response to the environment. A man of joy transcends what happens in his environment but draws joy from his relationship with God.

3)     Be a man of peace: Jesus has made peace between man and God in His body on the cross, we who are saved are instruments to make peace between God and the unbelieving world. We are also told to be men of peace to others whom God has placed in our path of life.

4)     Be a man of patience: Patience is a rare commodity for many and it is why we all need to learn to be. Be patient with those closest to us, our family and friends, coworkers and fellow Christians at church. Be patient to those who are learning and growing.

5)     Be a man of kindness: There are plenty mean people: mean in spirit and in actions. That’s why we see so much violence. People of God need to be kind in heart, in words and in actions. We also are encouraged to be kind to our enemies.

6)     Be a man of goodness: Kindness is about expression on the outside but goodness is about quality on the inside. People with good heart will express themselves in kind words and action.

7)     Be a man of faithfulness: Being faithful means keeping promises. God in the Bible always keeps Hid promises even though some- times promises materialized later than what we want to. Since God is faithful, those who are called in His name must remain faithful.

8)     Be a man of gentleness: Gentleness is one of the two personality traits Jesus described himself. In Matthew 11:29, Jesus urged His disciples to “take my yoke upon you and learn from me for I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest of your soul.” He taught us to be gentle and humble in heart so we may find rest of our souls.

9)     Be a man of self control: Most people are being controlled by rules and laws, rules of school, at work and social institutions and laws of the land. But true men of God learn to control themselves by the Holy Spirit which lives in their hearts. They control their ambition, temperament and carnal desires in their hearts.

 

CONCLUSION:

1)     Do all you can do: God worked 6 of the 7 days in a week to create the universe and man. He still works in His creation including our lives. Be diligent, responsible, productive and fruitful are all godly qualities. God has assigned us portions of His plan and we are to fulfill His plans the best we can. Jesus said, “If you bear much fruit, your heaven Father will be glorified.” (John 15:8)So, we need to be diligent and responsible in things we are assigned to do.

2)     Be all you can be: While this is a slogan of military recruitment, it is also a biblical encouragement Paul used for Christians in Bible time and now. We are not just to do all we need to do, we are also to become all that we can become according to the directives of the Holy Spirit. Paul said, “Brothers, I do not consider myself to have accomplished it all. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining forward to what is ahead.” (Phil. 3:13)

3)     Never too late to start: When asked of his age by Pharaoh, Jacob reflected on his life and confessed that “The years of my journey on earth are 130 but my years have been few and bitter.” (Gen. 47:9) In that 130 years of Jacob’s life, two thirds were spent in human strives and carnal schemes. It was until he surrendered to God and was given a new name, he became a man God could use to establish a nation. (Gen. 32:22-28)No matter what stage you life is now, surrender it to God, ask Him to direct your path and you will be a new man in His grace for blessings to yourself and others.