For years I had a cartoon on the front of my refrigerator that I had cut out of the newspaper. It showed a small person (possibly Ziggy, I don’t really remember now) standing in front of his own refrigerator which displayed a “To Do” list for the day.
The list read:
1. Pick yourself up.
2. Dust yourself off.
3. Start all over again.
Every day we have to start all over again, but I think it’s a lot better to remember that every day we get to start all over again. But even with a blank slate, sometimes it’s hard to decide what it is that God wants us to do next. Or keep doing. Or stop doing.
We know that we are called to love God with all that we have and all that we are, and to love anyone who needs us the same way we love ourselves. Then we remember that loving involves more than feeling warm and fuzzy. If we put our minds to it we can usually find ways to love those who need us, but how do we love God? Loving God has to be more than just feeling warm and fuzzy about God, so what does God want us to do?
Psalm 40:6 tells us, “Sacrifice and offering you do not desire, but you have given me an open ear.” Sacrifice can be a good thing, but God doesn’t want us to make a show of sacrificing. God doesn’t want us to dress up in sackcloth and ashes and walk around moaning to show how we are so into self-denial that we are miserable. God also isn’t interested in our public offerings that can be compared to the offerings of everyone else.
One thing God does want is for us to listen. That’s what it means to have an open ear. God wants us to listen for what God wants, for where we can serve God. God wants us to listen to each other and learn to understand how other people think and feel so that we can be in stronger relationships with them. God wants us to listen to our own hearts and what we want. Some of the things we want may not be things we need or that are good for us, but being aware of those kinds of nagging desires can help us to resist them. Some of the things we want show us where our passions are and inspire us to get to work.
God longs to give us an open hear, because God longs for us to listen.