Serve the List, or Enlist to Serve?

by Rhonda Rhea

Set your hearts on the Lord, and worship only Him. 1 Samuel 7:3 CSB

List-maker, list-maker, make me a list. But wait, make it for someone else, not me. Because I already have 8000 lists of my own, thanks. A family member told me the other day that my stacks upon stacks of lists make me look like an organized person. Then we laughed and laughed. Because we both know me.

I don’t make all these lists because I’m organized. I make them because I’m not. Those who know me know I make lists and lists, and lists of lists. In list form. (When it comes to this kind of devotion, I’m hoping to become a speciaLIST.)

How do I love my lists? Let me list the ways. Well, it’s all of them. All the ways of list loving. So anytime I misplace the list of the hour, I confess that my tendency is to go a little ballistic. Ba-LIST-ic? See what I did there?

Even aside from mine, there are so many types of lists. Wish lists and waiting lists. Short lists and shopping lists. Hit lists and honey-do lists. Backlists, blacklists, and bucket lists. And while you don’t want to make the injured list, you might be disappointed if you didn’t make the Christmas list. I could try to make a complete laundry list of all the different kinds of lists, but I think that’s probably unrea-LIST-ic.

Not only am I a list maniac, but I also tend to be a mania maniac. As in, my lists often have more to-do’s than any one person could ever possibly get to done.

Could I get real here? I have to force myself to examine my list regularly—daily, really—and to ask myself hard questions. Am I serving the list? Or am I serving the King? Have I put items on that list that are outside of His calling on my life? Have I said any yeses where I should’ve said no? Have I added manic and panic, and, by doing so, hindered service to my King?

Instead of serving a list, instead of bowing down to the expectations of others, and instead of bending to my own sometimes unreasonable expectations of myself, I want to take a knee before my King. I want to enlist in His service. It’s not so much about the listing. It’s so much more about the EN-listing.

In 1 Samuel 7:3, Samuel tells the people of Israel, “If you are returning to the Lord with all your heart, get rid of the foreign gods and the Ashtoreths that are among you, set your hearts on the Lord, and worship only Him” (CSB). He’s telling the people that if they’re genuinely and completely giving themselves to their God, what follows is getting rid of idols and anything else they might love more than the Lord.

The people followed Samuel’s leading, and God rewarded them with favor and His presence. When the Philistines attacked, God gave Israel victory: “So the Philistines were subdued and did not invade Israel’s territory again. The Lord’s hand was against the Philistines all of Samuel’s life” (1 Samuel 7:13 CSB).

PhiLISTines? Delisted. While there are blacklists and hit lists and various other naughty lists, how wonderful it is that we never have to find ourselves on God’s “subdued” list.

Father, help us remember—maybe even write down and remember—that we don’t serve a list. We serve You, our mighty God. That we don’t need to fret about meeting anyone’s expectations but Yours. May we daily bow before You, our King, and enlist in Your service, with whole hearts of dedication and worship.

This article brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: Rhonda Rhea is a TV personality for Christian Television Network and an award-winning humor columnist for great magazines such as HomeLifeLeading HeartsThe Pathway and many more. She is the author of 17 books, including the Fix-Her-Upper books, co-authored with Beth Duewel, and the hilarious novels, Turtles in the Road and Off-Script & Over-Caffeinated, both co-authored with her daughter, Kaley Rhea. Rhonda lives near St. Louis with her pastor/hubs and has five grown children. You can read more from Rhonda on her website or Facebook page.

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Got baggage? Ever find yourself lugging around messy spiritual baggage like so much purse clutter? Rhonda’s latest release, Messy to Meaningful: My Purse Runneth Over, will help you stop holding on to what you don’t need and start fighting for what you do. Learn to walk out your faith life less weighed down, lighter, and freer that ever!

Join the conversation: How do you keep focused on Jesus to avoid problems with your lists?