This spring some women in the church met to discuss Don Miguel Ruiz’s book, The Four Agreements. It’s good to share what we learned because the spiritual knowledge contained within the book finds resonance in all of our world’s religious traditions—and most certainly with Christianity. In previous newsletters I shared with you the first three agreements: BE IMPECCABLE WITH YOUR WORD, DON’T TAKE ANYTHING PERSONALLY, and DON’T MAKE ASSUMPTIONS. The fourth and last agreement is ALWAYS DO YOUR BEST. Ruiz shares this story in his book: “There was a man who wanted to transcend his suffering, so he went to a Buddhist temple to find a Master to help him. He went to the Master and asked, ‘Master, if I meditate four hours a day, how long will it take for me to transcend?’ The Master looked at him and replied, ‘If you meditate four hours a day, perhaps you will transcend in ten years.’ Thinking he could do better, the man then said, ‘Oh, Master, what if I meditated eight hours a day, how long will it take me to transcend?’ The Master looked at him and said, ‘If you meditate eight hours a day, perhaps you will transcend in twenty years.’ ‘But why will it take me longer if I meditate more?’ the man asked. The Master replied, ‘You are not here to sacrifice your joy or your life. You are here to live, to be happy, and to love. If you can do your best in two hours of meditation, but you spend eight hours instead, you will only grow tired, miss the point, and you won’t enjoy your life. Do your best, and perhaps you will learn that no matter how long you meditate, you can live, love, and be happy.’”
This sounds to me like a quality over quantity issue. More, it seems, isn’t always better! What is most important is our attitude toward whatever we are doing in the moment. Attitude, the direction of our thoughts, seems to be key. In Colossians 3:23-24 the Apostle Paul writes, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.” Imagine if this were our first thought every morning: How can I best serve the Lord Christ today? Let us always do our best for the glory of God, no matter what the circumstance and give each moment in life the best we can offer, and we will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret.