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Viewpoints

In much of our lives, home, work, school, faith, and even recreational activities demand that we give of ourselves. Time, money, thought, energy all forms of personal sacrifice are required. Sometimes the demands are not too high, the cost is not too great, or the price is worth the benefit. But sometimes we get tired. When physical, mental, or spiritual fatigue strikes we may doubt the value of our activities, the sacrifices, our purpose. And the doubts can lead to loss. Unchecked we could lose well-being, peace, happiness, or even ourselves. This is not the life or experience we want. The good news is it’s not the kind of life God wants for us either.

Now, it is not possible to avoid getting tired. And truth is we like to rest on occasion. It brings refreshment, and renewal. So, what do we do? In talking about the path of faith and discipleship John Wesley taught three basic rules. The first, “Do No Harm”, trains us to be considerate of our impact on others and to take responsibility for it. Whatever we choose to say or do we do all we can to reduce or avoid causing harm to the lives of others. The second, “Do good”, gives direction to our responsibility, how to think about consequences before we make our choices, and guides us to do what we can to make a positive difference in the lives of others. The concern that comes from applying these two rules is that we become drained or exhausted, feeling like everything is taking from us and nothing is replenishing or encouraging. And who wants to just pour out all we’ve got? That can’t be the “better life” God promises.

As Jesus says, God knows our need before we ask (Matthew 6:8). So, to overcome weariness, to “re-charge our batteries” Wesley gives us rule #3: Do the Good Stuff. The “good stuff” are the things that build us up and keep the energy flowing. There are several things we can do that help us to feel better and live better and empowers our following through with rules 1 and 2.

The Good Stuff:

            Read the Bible Daily            A lot or a little, spend time with God’s word every day.

            Pray Daily                            Spend time with God, can’t ask help from one you don’t know.

            Go to Church Weekly         Worship with faith community, gain support & encouragement.

            Spiritual Friendships         Spend time with faith friends, for fun & support.

            Take Sacraments               Do not block the ways that God can bless and help you.

By spending a little energy on yourself and your spiritual growth, you will find the encouragement and strength you need to continue to make a great difference in the world and to live well through or in spite of everything that happens. And that is rindeed worth i

What’s up with today’s leaders? Maybe it is true in every generation but currently have you noticed:

1. Their top value is image.

2. They read up on trends and then try to get in front to look like they are leading.

3. They seem to be intimidated by hard work and real leaders.

4. They promote mediocrity and eliminate excellence.

5. They seem to think if they “say it” all the people will love it, jump up, and do it.

Where did they learn this stuff? How could they not realize what human dynamics are truly like? Do they know how their pursuit of popularity or fame, their self-serving power, wielding and cronyism is self-defeating?

In Washington they seem to be standing for what they think is important but are willing to let the nation suffer. Perhaps they fear whatever compromise they make will cost them in the next election rather than realize their inability to govern costs them respect. After all we hear them plan for ten years and most common folk know we would be lucky if such plans last more than one or two.

In businesses and administration the pursuit of power and the forgetting or disregarding of purpose costs them esteem and regard. Not to their faces of course, but institutional support wanes so that the institution dies.

Work is what saves. Far more than words, hard work is what makes the difference. It takes conviction, courage, and sacrifice to make the changes needed, to stay on course, to turn the decline around, to restore well-being and hope. In short, it takes something far greater than ourselves, a belief, a trust, a vision, and a commitment to purpose, value and worth above the cost. When you think about it the transformation comes not from the boardroom but from the line. It is not the planners but the doers who make the difference. And it is the true and genuine that we trust far more than words. What matters is authenticity, hard work, good values, and true devotion. And these qualities do not come from the top. They come from the heart. They come from the common and from the family, not the famous. And when you think about it there are a lot of “famous” we would rather not call role models, whereas there are a lot of genuine hardworking and genuine folks in our lives who we cherish and emulate for their quality.

So work above words, heart above hardship, vision and devotion these are the traits ot transformation.