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God's To-Do List
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Photo: Steve Woods
As I drove away, I wondered what I would find when I returned. Before leaving the house, I had mentioned a few chores I needed my children to complete while I was gone. Past experience had shown that sometimes I would find everything clean and tidy when I returned. At other times, numerous distractions had prevented them from finishing their tasks. Then it dawned on me what made the difference. The to-do list I sometimes left on the counter. Vague suggestions usually didn’t produce the desired results, while leaving a list helped them to focus on the things that needed to be done. 

As I was contemplating what a wonderful tool a list is for my children, I realized that I am not so different. When I make a list of the things that I need to accomplish I am much more likely to actually accomplish those things than if I just have a vague idea in my mind of what I hope to achieve.

From there my mind wandered on to other lists in my life and I began to think about an often misrepresented list - God’s list, the Ten Commandments. As I was reflecting on this list, I realized that much like my lists, God’s list is simply a tool.

A Tutor

Paul says that God’s list is a tutor that brings me to Christ—I see the utter futility of trying to accomplish the list in order to gain God’s favor (Galatians 3:24). It keeps me focused on my need for a Savior. James compares God’s list to a mirror (James 1:22-25). When I look into it, I see the areas of my life that aren’t reflecting God’s best for me. It becomes a tool that keeps me focused, helps me to avoid being distracted by the myriad temptations and ideas about life that the world has to offer. It’s specific enough that I don’t have to guess what kind of lifestyle will bring me happiness. I just have to consult the list.

My perspective on God’s list can become distorted, just like it sometimes does with the lists I make for myself. I sometimes forget the big picture—the peace and happiness of myself and my family, as I strive to check tasks off my list. My list can become a burden that actually destroys my peace when taken out of its proper context. My lists can send my family scurrying to get out of Mom’s way as I grumpily insist that the list must be completed.

Just the same, if I see God’s list as simply items to be checked off if I hope to enter heaven, it becomes a wearisome burden that robs me of the joy God wants for me. Eventually it tends to rob others of their joy as well as I make following the list the all-important thing.

I’m thankful for God’s To-Do list that helps me to stay focused on Him and His ideal for me as I wait for His return!

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By Leslie Olin. Copyright © 2008 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from the NEW KING JAMES VERSION © 1982.


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