Dazzle 'em

“Here is a simple, rule-of-thumb guide for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you, then grab the initiative and do it for them." (Matthew 7:12)

A lot of times we make things so complicated in terms of defining 'good behavior'. I think God put it out there quite plainly - figure out what you would want others to do for you - then turn the tables and do it for THEM. Grab the initiative - this means we have to pay attention, be on top of our game, be looking for ways to be a blessing. Too many times we miss the moments when we could have made a difference if we'd have just 'grabbed the initiative'. 

Initiative is all about 'taking charge' - it is the 'setting in motion' of one action that may just lead to another. Don't take the initiative unless you are committed for the long haul - there may be more actions God will ask of you and you must be willing to step forward with the next action, not just the first one. If there is one over-arching characteristic of initiative, it would have to be 'responsibility'. We take responsibility for our own actions, but we also 'responsibly' become a blessing in the lives of others.

Let me explain that last statement a bit. To 'responsibly' become a blessing in the lives of others we need to be aware of some pitfalls that can occur. There could be a little bit of pride that begins to creep up inside of each of us, perhaps noting how many times we have taken the initiative and how far fewer times another has. When pride enters in, we begin to 'compare' our 'initiative taking' AGAINST that of another. This clearly is not what God had in mind when he told us to grab the initiative and be a blessing to another.

Bless, but don't seek credit. Bless, but don't keep a record of how many times you do. Bless, but don't get all wigged out when the blessing isn't returned. The 'need' to 'get credit' for taking the initiative suggests a heart that might just be struggling with a bit of a wrong motivation. The 'recordkeeping' pitfall is one of thinking we 'deserve' something in return for our 'right behavior'. If we look at what scripture says, right behavior is required of those who serve Christ - it is a response to his grace being given so freely in our lives. 

We might not always know how to take the initiative, but when we are open to God's leading in our daily walk, he will show us ways to be a blessing to those around us. It could be as simple as holding a door open for someone with full arms, or as complex as sitting with someone with a loved one on death's door. The key is to be 'available' and then to respond in the best way we are able. Just sayin!

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