Links Daily Devotional

Still Golden?

So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. (Matthew 7:12, NIV)

Which golf adage have you heard a thousand times? Some candidates:

“Keep your head down.”

“Never up, never in.”

“Swing down to hit it up.”

“Slow down!”

None of these is a set of magic incantations. They are meant to do one thing: change your behavior. But because we are quite prone to bad habits and general forgetfulness, our head gets to sliding, our putts grow tentative, we try to lift our pitch shots, and we start that downswing before we’ve finished taking it back. As Dr. Seuss might say: “Oh, the troubles we’ve seen!”

The Golden Rule falls victim to the same kind of memory loss. It’s there, always there, as the central principle for the kind of living God delights to see in us. But we spend a lot of time looking elsewhere, tweaking the details rather than living in the flow of selfless love.

Maybe a fresh set of words will help. Eugene Peterson lined out Matthew 7:12 like this: “Here is a simple, rule-of-thumb guide for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you, then grab the initiative and do it for them.”

So ask yourself, “What would I like my spouse to do for me?” Prepare a dinner, turn off the TV, pick up around the house, take the kids out for a while, listen to my heart of hearts? Take the initiative—do it for your spouse.

“What would I like my neighbor to do for me?” Mow my lawn, sweep my walk, watch my house when I’m gone, ask how I’m doing, invite me over for dinner? Take the initiative—do it for your neighbor.

“What would I like my golf partner to do for me?” Rake the sand, take the cart around, fill my divot, genuinely ask about my family or business? Take the initiative—do it for your golf partner.

You’re getting the idea, I’m sure. But like those golf adages, it’s only better than an idea if it affects your behavior. Dig up the Golden Rule in your life; remove the tarnish; let it shine.

Jeff Hopper

July 12, 2011

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