Thursday, October 11, 2007

Doin' the Hokey Pokey

I have my head buried in my hands in disbelief after putting the words “hokey pokey” in the title of this post. What am I thinking…?

But, despite what preschoolers, elementary music teachers, and party planners might think, putting your right foot in and out of a circle of people and shaking it is not REALLY what “it’s all about.”

If you were to really observe the people around you throughout your day, you’d likely come to the conclusion that “it” is about them. Or, you may come to the realization that when you pay close attention, “it” is all about you. Don’t get upset…I realize the same thing much of the time. But, the great news is this: when our eyes are opened, we are more easily able to discover what “it” really is all about.

I just returned from a local discount retail store where I had one of these eye-opening experiences. It was fairly early in the morning, so only two check-out lanes were open. I had three items in my hands – a stick of deodorant and two small toys I bought for my son’s friend’s birthday party. As I was making my way to Aisle 13, a woman with a cart full of stuff spotted me and began to make a mad dash to the checkout counter…to beat me! You would have thought she was a contestant on everyone’s favorite grocery game show: Supermarket Sweep.

Being the kind, gentle soul that I am (cough cough), I slowed down. She then steered her way onto Pit Road so she could change the tires on her cart while the cashier scanned her items. Then, it was a race to the checkered flag, and through the automatic doors at the store’s exit. I was left covered in her dust.

Certainly you can relate to this. I can. I am often the one impersonating Dale Jr. behind the wheel of my buggy. I’m focused. Determined. Trying to set the new track record at my local store. I only pay attention to others when they stand in my way of bringing home the Kroger Kart Kup.

But, when I do this I have “it” all wrong. When Jesus was asked by the religious leaders of his day what “it” was really all about, his answer was simple and profound: Loving God and Loving Others. And, while Jesus had his own “race to run,” he always found time to slow down and serve other people.

Serving others isn’t always easy. Our tendency is to meet our own desires first. But, it’s not what’s best. What’s best is to put God #1 in our lives, then to do everything we can to demonstrate our love for Him by putting others ahead of us.

Sometimes that means doing something you don’t really enjoy doing (another word for that is sacrifice). It could be volunteering at your child’s school; serving at your church – parking, childcare, greeting; mowing your neighbor’s overgrown lawn; or stopping to allow someone else to go in front of you at a check-out line.

When we are putting others first, we are pleasing God. And, there’s nothing God enjoys more than when we get “it.” So, take a step back. Decrease yourself and allow others to increase. Then, you can do the Hokey Pokey and spin yourself around. ‘Cuz THAT’s what “it’s” all about!

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