Consider: “The Common Rule”

In The Common Rule: Habits of Purpose for an Age of Distraction, Justin Earley describes four weekly and four daily habits he developed for his personal use. As a collective rule, the goal is to take “the small patterns of life and [organize] them towards the big goal of life: to love God and neighbor.” Here are two brief excerpts from the introduction:

…I had no idea how much my ordinary habits were shaping my soul in the most extraordinary ways. I had no idea how much my life was being formed by my habits instead of my hopes. Most of us don’t, of course, because habits are the water we swim in.

You’ll find that once new Common Rule habits are established, by definition they don’t take up time and mental space. They work in the background. They’re designed to free up your time, create meaningful space for relationships, turn your energy toward good work, and focus your presence on the God who made you and loves you. That is not constricting; that is liberating. You were made for it.

From there he goes on to describe the principles behind each purposeful habit and tips to implement each habit so that it fits your life and priorities.

These books are set here as possibilities for you to explore. Posts and links are not endorsements or paid publicity.

Love and Generosity

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they shall be satisfied.

Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.”
(Matthew 5:6-7)

When our church wrapped up a sermon series on the Sermon on the Mount, we received challenges from our pastor on how what we had heard should show up in our lives. One of those challenges was on loving our neighbors and how we give to others.

Note: As important as it is to love our families well, today’s focus is on love and generosity outside the home. 

Do our lives contain regular instances of mercy and giving and caring for others in our community? Do we set aside resources and make time to love as Jesus loved? Are we living as children of God?

Sinclair Ferguson points out in The Sermon on the Mount when discussing the verses above, “…once we have discovered that we have no resources to save ourselves, we learn to look elsewhere — to Christ — to meet our needs, and also to meet the needs of the world in which we live.” Children of God have abundant access to what we and others need. We are not called to keep that to ourselves.

It is easy to see needs around us. So much is broken; so much is disturbingly wrong. We can throw up our hands in despair, or we can drop to our knees in prayer and service. Our hands can help with healing and restoration. Not only can they help, but also God’s people should have hands that help.

The internet is full of ideas and suggestions. If we take a few minutes with a willing heart, we can easily come up with possibilities suited for just our situation, resources, and abilities. How will we love our neighbor today?