I wasn’t anticipating that this would be such a popular topic in my world when I began writing this, but so far it has been! My friend also wrote a post similar to the one that you are currently reading (visit it at her blog: Endlessly Loved), my pastor spoke briefly of it, and a couple ladies at my bible study had individual stories to tell, all in relativity to being intentional. Wow. So cool.
Lately, intentionality has really been a pressing concept on my mind – I say lately, but lately is inclusive of the past several months. I began working at a coffee shop in early May of this past year, then transferred to a different coffee shop in June. I love meeting people of all different personalities and habits of life so I was thrilled to work in an environment where that would become a daily opportunity. It’s an opportunity to inspire people, to initiate joy in their day, and to be the interaction that makes them desire to do the same for someone else.
Coffee shops are the quiet, peaceful places that we go to get our homework done, hangout with Jesus, or to meet people to catch up, right? Wrong. They are all of those things with the exception of “quiet” and “peaceful”. From behind the counter, my coffee shop is the jumbled mess of five different timers going off, misplaced cups, expired bananas, and an insufficient amount of whipped cream canisters. It’s the rude complaints of customers, the pressure to make the super specialized drinks exactly how the customers want them, and the constant obligation to provide a smile. But amidst all of that, above it all, it’s an opportunity, a learning experience, and a chance to change the course of someone’s day.
My dad asked me one day if I was excited to go to work every day and my answer was yes. I didn’t have to think about it because I honestly was excited to go to work. Sure it could be stressful, and there were definitely days when I would have preferred doing other things, but I had to remind myself that I was there for a reason. Maybe I wasn’t there to do some huge, exciting thing that would send the entire store straight to their knees as they scream shouts of hallelujah’s, but maybe just to be the reason behind someone’s smile.
As stressful and irritating as some shifts presented themselves, I was constantly reminded that accompanied in each interaction we are a part of is a choice – a choice to choose Jesus and joy, or to choose yourself. Throughout all of life’s struggles and challenges we need to remind ourselves of that very thing. Who comes first? Love God, love others, and love yourself. It’s that simple. My pastor back home said asked the church one day a question that has stuck with me for quite a while. He said, “What’s the point in doing a good deed if it isn’t accompanied with Jesus’ name? Good people go to hell just as much as bad people do.” I was shook. I had never thought about it in such a direct way before. He’s right though, isn’t he?
If you approach each day with that list in mind (Love God, Love Others, & Love Yourself) you are going to move mountains. Putting God first is something that you have to do intentionally and once you do, you are subconsciously very intentional about how you go about the rest of your day. Your own thoughts and goals are disregarded and you focus on the bigger picture of what God’s plans are. You put Him first and others second.
Once you reach the point where that’s how you live each day, being intentional in your interactions is easy. You no longer view each interaction you have as just an interaction, but rather view it as a chance to be an inspirer of the Good News. You can inspire, influence, and encourage people as often as you like but unless it’s accompanied with Jesus’ name, you are doing more harm than good.
I’m asking you to be intentional. To look at each interaction as an opportunity to be God’s hands and feet. I’m asking you to be focused on God first, others second, and yourself last. There is no harm in a good deed done in Jesus’ name, but great harm in a good deed without.
LOVE GOD, LOVE OTHERS, LOVE YOURSELF, AND BE INTENTIONAL.
“‘You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:13-16 NIV
“He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.'” Mark 16:15 NIV
“I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart;
I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.” Psalm 9:1 NIV
“How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!'” Romans 10:14-15 NIV