In the Fellowship Hall of a church that I once served, there is a framed picture that includes this famous quote by John Wesley: "Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can."
This quote is a more full expression of Wesley's second rule for Christians living. It is not to put pressure on us, but to remind us that in every moment of every day in every place that we find ourselves there are opportunities to do good.
It is a way to help us think not about what we can do or get for ourselves, but what we can do for others. It is a way to help us think about how we can live selflessly. It is an expression of our response to the grace we have received from Christ, who lived not for Himself, but for others.
It would be so easy, in this world, to live just for us. There is a picture making the rounds on Facebook that show a split picture. On the left side is a picture of starving children reaching out for a meager portion of food. On the right side is a picture of people shopping for Christmas. They have a full shopping cart full of presents and are carrying armfuls of presents besides. The message of the picture is clear. For the most part, many of us have everything that we need, but for so, so many others around the world and even in our own county, there are others who do not. I believe Wesley would take a look at that picture and simply reply: "Do all the good you can."
How do we do all the good we can? There are so many ways many people are doing good. When the severe storm hit this summer, so many people responded to that crisis by making sure that Crosslines/Parish House had food to give out and to cook for meals. I have heard stories about how many people checked on neighbors and friends and helped out to make them more comfortable in a bad situation. There are so many areas day by day where we can do good - volunteering at agencies, going on mission trips, visiting in hospitals, nursing homes and prisons, cooking meals for people, Relay For Life, CROP Walk, helping people move, looking after children, helping to school supplies, mentoring our youth. The list goes on and on.
Wesley's quote is important to us because as we think about it each day, it reminds us to think more about others and less about ourselves. It reminds us that there are so many things that each of us can do to make the world a better place. It reminds us that our response to Christ's grace in our lives is to offer grace to others - to do good.
Each morning we begin with prayer at the Parish House. In that prayer is a request that we might do good for others. It is phrased differently every day, but the intent is the same. Some days we do very well listening for God's guidance throughout day and we are able to do so much. Some days we do not do as well listening for God's guidance, but each day is a new day to ask for help and to do good. We are not going to get it right every time, any of us, but every day is a new day to ask God to help us do all the good we can.
May that be the prayer for all of us. To God be the Glory!
On the parish calendar:
Chapel Hill United Methodist Church will host its third annual back-to-school block party from 3 to 7 p.m. Aug. 25, with music, a bounce house, carnival games, face painting, cake walk, free hot dogs, nachos, popcorn, and more.