I love a good checklist! Checklists are so … functional. They are neat and orderly, systematic and defined, satisfying my mostly orderly mind and soul. Some days when I don't have a specific list of errands or chores to tackle, I could almost persuade myself to create a to-do list: Wake up, get out of bed, make a cup of tea, have my quiet time, get dressed, eat breakfast, brush my teeth … just for the pleasure and satisfaction of checking off the completed items one by one.
Lists do serve many purposes in real life, however. They are instructional, motivational, functional, and clarifying. They can help to serve as a memory device. They can help to simplify and keep in order large amounts of material. They make searching for individual items among many far easier.
It may surprise you that the Bible is full of lists. It surprised me when, in a stack of used books, I once found an actual book of Bible lists. Imagine enough lists to fill a book! Let me give you — in list format — just a few of the many, many lists that are found in the Bible:
- Days of creation
- Tribes of Israel
- Plagues of Egypt
- Ten Commandments
- Genealogies of the people of Israel
- Kings of Israel and Judah
- Furnishings of the tabernacle
- Lineage of Jesus
- Twelve disciples
- Lamb's Book of Life (my favourite, knowing that my name is on this list!)
Let me anticipate your question, "So what? What's the big deal about lists anyway?" In answer, let me focus on a specific list in the Bible that exhorts us in how to live:
Galatians 5:22-23 – But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. (NIV)
This list encapsulates what is good for me — and will likely result in good for you as well — as I choose to live out these commendable attributes. Each day as I grow deeper and stronger in my Christian life, these attributes become more and more a part of my character. This checklist is a blueprint for strong, loving relationships. Because it will never be a checklist to be completed and then put aside, it is, indeed, a checklist for us all to live by — each and every day.
Prayer: Dear Father in heaven, may we see the fruit of the Spirit as qualities to be lived out day by day. Please give us strength and grace to grow in these character traits throughout our life's journey. Amen.