Best of Daily Reflections: Real Simple
Trust in the LORD and do good. Then you will live safely in the land and prosper.
Are you familiar with the magazine called Real Simple? Perhaps you've seen it in the grocery store. If you're a woman, you may even have bought a copy. The magazine's subtitle is just as alluring as the title: "Life Made Easier." Sounds good, doesn't it? Real Simple ... Life Made Easier ... That's just what I need these days, as my life seems to be getting ever more complicated, with a to-do list that never ends and an email inbox that never remains empty. I live in a TMI world. There's just "too much information." Wouldn't it be great if life could be made, well, real simple?
That's what Psalm 37 offers. It serves up plenty of good advice for living: "Don't worry about the wicked" (v. 1). "Commit everything you do to the Lord" (v. 5). "Be still in the presence of the Lord" (v. 7). "Turn from evil and do good" (v. 27). All of this is pretty straightforward. But perhaps the simplest guidance for living well comes in verse 3: "Trust in the LORD and do good. Then you will live safely in the land and prosper." That's about as simple as it gets: "Trust in the LORD and do good."
First, we trust in the Lord. Trust means having faith in him. It means relying upon his grace. It means hearing his directives and following them obediently. Trusting in God is far more than mere belief. It involves leaning back into his arms, receiving his grace, and putting our hope in him. We trust in the Lord because he has revealed himself to be trustworthy.
Second, we do good. We do the good that God has shown us in Scripture. We love our neighbors and even our enemies. We feed the hungry and seek justice for the oppressed. We use well the gifts and talents God has given us, whether at work or at school, in our church or our community, in our family or among our friends. Google follows its corporate dictum, "Don't be evil." We follow the Lord's directive, "Do good."
I realize, of course, that trusting in the Lord is not always easy. Nor is doing good. Sometimes it's terribly hard to trust God. And sometimes it's hard to figure out the right thing to do, not to mention actually doing it. But, still, we won't go wrong if we keep in our minds the wisdom of Psalm 37:3, "Trust in the LORD and do good." There it is. Real simple.
QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: What basic truths or commitments guide your life? In a pinch, what guides your behavior? How might your life be different if you lived each day trusting in God and doing good?
PRAYER: Dear Lord, help me to trust you. Help me to trust your grace and wisdom. When I'm afraid, help me to trust that you are with me. When I'm lost, help me to trust that you will find me. When I worry about my health, my children, my future, my work, and all the other things that can wake me up at night, help me to trust you.
Help me to do good. Give me the ability to discern what's right, what's best. Give me the courage to do good even when I fear the scorn of others. When I am tempted to do what is easy or selfish or hurtful, inspire me to do good. May my everyday behavior honor you, in every segment of life.
May I trust in you and do good, always, for your glory. Amen.
Image courtesy of Laity Lodge, one of our sister programs in the Foundations for Laity Renewal.