What if we lived our lives as simply Methodist?
Recently, events I can’t understand shook my world. As I struggle to understand what has happened, know one thing: My life is founded on the principal that Jesus taught us: Love one another as we want to be loved.
How difficult does life have to be if we honestly focused on that one principal?
When John Wesley looked at his world, he saw each individual as one of God’s children. He loved them and then went to work taking his knowledge and skills to see that God’s love was spread to all, not just to the wealthy, the landowners, the businessmen, the educated—he saw each one as someone to value.
What methods did he use?
He simply did all he could do to help one another. Did the people need food? Did they need clothing? Did they need medical care? Did they need education?
The basic needs of all people is to have food, shelter and clothing. Once these needs are met, then one can begin developing relationships and grow their own skills, develop their gifts, and become engaged in community.
As a high school senior, I worked with my classmates to identify a quote that we felt could guide us in our lives. We chose “Take the world as you see it, but leave it better.”
That quote has become a guiding principal in my life. Graduating in 1972, I chose to use journalism as my professional path because that was a way to take the world as it is, then to share the truth of the story.
Yes, that may seem naïve in this 2023 world, but at that time the principles taught at J School was to focus on the truth, finding the truth, and then telling the truth. The Canons of Journalism became my framework, and I strove to do my best.
At the same time, I began developing my professional skills, I continued to grow in my faith. I was born and raised a Methodist and our family lived a Christ-centered life. In my life, I saw Jesus’ commandment as a foundation for my personal life as well as my professional life.
Take the world as I see it but do all that I can to leave it better. Is that not want John Wesley did? He was trained as an Anglican priest, but he saw the world suffering and he did whatever he could to take God’s love to each individual.
How do we live simply as one of God’s faithful?
We take steps to develop our faith foundation which Wesley developed as his individual works of piety: reading, meditating and studying scripture, prayer, fasting, regularly attend worship, healthy living, and sharing our faith with others.
And then we move into action doing all that we can so that others may know God’s love. Wesley identified these as individual works of mercy: doing good works, visiting the sick, visiting those in prison, feeding the hungry, and giving generously to the needs of others.
In our 21st century world, the secular world challenges us to think we need to focus on personal wealth. There seems to be a constant push to prove one’s success by visible signs of success. Maybe that is a fancy house, the latest car, the style of clothes, the season tickets, the kids’ sports leagues. The list grows.
Living a life that others may know Jesus is not going to be easy. This is why we have a church family. Wesley knew that the secular world would challenge us and we can be strengthened in our faith when we met together to read scripture, to pray, and to worship God. We need a church family.
If we live simply as Methodists, we can take the world as we see it and leave it better.
If we live simply as Methodists, we have a church family to strengthen our faith.
If we live simply as Methodists, we love one another in any way that we can for all that we can.