Halfway there – Time for a midterm

3rules

Today’s Reading Psalm 135:1 – Proverbs 6:35

Midterms were never fun for me. I remember when I had my first midterms in high school. I was not certain of the procedure. Up until that point in my scholastic life I was used to being tested on just a certain section or chapter. All of a sudden, I was now required to remember things we had talked about when the class started months ago. It didn’t seem fair.

Every once in a while we would have one of those teachers who thought like I thought. The midterm would only consist of what we had gone over since the previous test. So just another test, but usually one that was worth more to my overall grade. I could deal with that. If only life could be like that.

The thing is though, life isn’t like that. Life is really about all we have learned and how we are using it. Our time through the bible over the last 45 days is really no different. What have we learned? how will we use it? These really are the vital questions for me today.So lets get ready for a midterm.

A few years ago, the late Bishop Reuben Job wrote a little but powerful book, Three Simple Rules, A Wesleyan Way of Living.  The book was Job’s take on John Wesley’s General Rules. They were simple but they were powerful. I think as we look over the last 45 days and prepare for our midterm, we see them throughout scripture and today’s reading.

 “Do no harm”.

     It is a simple rule really. However, throughout the readings we have had we see evidence of it not being followed. Adam and Eve eating the forbidden fruit. Cain killing his brother Abel. Joseph’s brothers selling him into slavery. These are examples of those who did harm. The bible is filled with examples.

We are called to do no harm as well. Don’t lie, cheat, or steal. Do not injure or harm our brothers and sisters. Avoid the many “-isms” that are prevalent in the world today. Do not ignore those in need. Do not oppress or overburden others.

“Do good” 

     Do good. Does it get any easier than that? It seems like it should be a simple thing. However, in the bible and in our lives we know that is not always the case. In the bible, we see plenty of examples though of people doing good. We see Joseph avoiding Potipher’s wife. We read about Hannah praying for and dedicating her son to God. We read about Queen Esther standing up for her people.

     We are called to do good as well. This does not have to be big sweeping gestures, although it could be. Helping those in need. Providing kindness to those who you see. Teaching, assisting, loving, caring. These are simple ways to do good each and every day.

“Stay in love with God”

     The last rule we need to know as we prepare for our midterm is this plea to stay in love with God. Again, it seems easy enough but is it really? We see evidence in scripture that this is something that the Israelite people continued to struggle with in their lives. They would often forget their first love. they would turn away.

     Staying in love with God means knowing God. Knowing God means to be in relationship with God. Doing that means we need to read scripture, worship, and pray. This is how we stay connected. This is how we stay on love.

     Okay, are you ready for the midterm? The good news is that it is an open book test. In fact it is an open heart and open mind test as well!

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