Love is patient. Love is kind. Love is changing the toilet paper roll.
That last verse may not be found in 1 Corinthians 13:4 but I’m making a case that it should be.
The other day I had one of those moments. You know the one. I was a good sneeze away from disaster and dashed into the bathroom (restroom, toilet, right Christie Purifoy and Lisa-Jo Baker?) only to find that when I needed it, there was nothing on the roll. Now, when I say nothing, I do not mean absolutely nothing. I mean there were maybe four squares. This is the universal sign, from the loving family member who was there before me, that they knew the roll needed to be changed but in no way had the energy to open the cabinet in the bathroom and take care of the transfer. Instead, they left just enough to give the appearance of not being rude.
For the love, people. For the love….
If I am honest, I have done the same thing, although not with toilet paper (that is just beyond!). There are certainly times when I have taken what I needed, or done what was appropriate; giving the appearance of doing what was right without going all the way. I’ve written the sympathy card but not necessarily taken the time to make a call, or have a visit, to really listen to my grieving neighbor. At church or with charities I believe in, I’ve given enough to participate but not enough to really offer my sacrificial trust in God or to fully affirm the ministry gifts richly shared by these community organizations. I’ve done without really doing.
So this week, as I was walking along this Pilgrim’s trail we are traveling together, I stumbled into a big colorful bouquet of flowers in my path. The stem said “Colossians 3:12-17” on it and each bright, vivid bloom had a verse.
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
“And whatever you do. . . do everything”.
Do everything seems a lot heavier than a bouquet of flowers, doesn’t it? But hang with me. I don’t think it is. I think it’s about considering what my everything is and then doing just that..all in.
Love our neighbor
Just about every week I write about walking in love as Christ loved us, loving our neighbor, living a mission-driven life, and going beyond that which makes us feel like we checked the socially appropriate box. I also write about how difficult that is and how far short I fall. But it’s the choice to step into the work God has prepared that matters. It’s about accepting the invitation to work alongside Jesus and doing everything I am able to do, while not straying into the everything Jesus will do. Crossing that line fills me with despair. It is a place of prideful perfection.
So this week I am tossing out the rock of perfection that has filled my pack, and strained my back, for so long. I’m trading it in for the delightful, colorful bouquet of Colossians 3:12-17 which is lighter, brighter, and more hopeful. I will take the hand of Jesus. With God, I will do everything in His name and I will breathe in the peace of Christ. Some days, that everything will be less than others (but on no day will I leave the toilet paper roll empty), and I will know that this is just right where Jesus asks me to be.
Is there a place of prideful perfection you have been holding to?
Is there a specific invitation you are noticing to step into doing everything with God?
What rock might you dump out of your pack this week?
Are there any flowers along your path that you would like to carry instead?