Day 2 Stop It and Tidy Up– The challenge (Read it here) for this day is definitley one I can get behind.
Thinking of it as a story, the plot is essentially, let’s all tidy up and do some cleaning – but it’s about more than that. It’s about thoughtfulness, it’s about caring for others by caring about their environment, it’s about making your life and everyone else’s life that much easier.
I’m not a fan of cleaning and my personal space could be said to be organised chaos. But when it comes to those areas I share with those folks in my circles or areas where I “work” (both in return for money and as a volunteer) , then I’m really on board with organisation and tidyness. This is because essentially your work becomes easier if your workspace is organised, is free of unecessary clutter and is in a standard layout so that you can easily see if anything is missing. For example, think of the way a Surgeon’s tools are arranged – every item has its place, and if there’s a “space” the surgeon (or more likely his assistant) knows straight away that something is amis. Believe it or not, this is one of the ways they make sure they haven’t left anything inside you. It’s also the way that the assistant knows the right tool to give to the surgeon quickly; rather than spend time looking, they know the right spot on the tray. So yes, I’m a big fan of getting rid of what you don’t need, setting what you do need in a standard way and maintaining that standard. (If you know anything about Lean thinking you’ll know this as the 5s tool – I’m a big fan!)
Cleaning up is also, for me, just basic politeness. It’s acknowledging that someone else will have to do it if you don’t, so honour them by just putting your plate where it should be, or your rubbish in the bin, or your clothes in the linen basket. Oh and never mix up a stack of alphabetised CD cases…. 😉
Day 3 – Connecting the dots – The day three challenge was focused on putting roots down in your locality. About connecting those circles, about connecting with those circles, especially ones that we might not naturally connect with. We are so “Plugged in” these days and so connected with our immediate family that we’ve forgotten we were designed for a fuller community. As for myself, I do so much “communicating” that I forget about talking (i honestly really apologise to my extroverted friends – I’m getting there, bear with me.)
So for me, this was in important challenge, a challenge that simply involved talking to people in my locality, connecting my dots, remembering names. The simple things that build relationships and communities.
Day 4 – How Can I be of Subject to You? – And day four… hitting you right between the eyes, getting to the whole point right at the start. “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
It’s pretty simple really. It’s what I actually want to do each and every day. It’s what being a disciple of Jesus is actually about (rather than any other “Shibboleths” that might be thrown about – More on Shibboleths in a future post… currently crafting). It’s seeing a need and meeting it. Nothing more complicated than that. It’s asking, How can I be of service to you? How can I serve you? How can I put aside all I had planned today and step out of my way for you? How can I focus my attention, energies and excellence on YOU today?
I’m reminded of a scene from The West Wing (probably, along with Buffy, my all time favourite television show) where Jed and Abbey discuss what the preacher at church was talking about. They’re talking about Ephesians 5, about being subject to one another.
Where the clip leaves off is that Bartlett then goes into the Oval Office to talk with his friend and Chief of Staff, Leo McGarry. And says to him simply, “How can I be of subject to you?”. What a Profound statement and expression of Faith. That the “Most Powerful Man in the World” would still see it as right and proper that he should be of subject, or service to a man who is essentially his employee. That’s real leadership, that’s real discipleship. And I can do no Less. So I’ll be asking, “How Can I be of Subject to You?” Today. And Everyday.