The Golden List Legacy
By Marty Norman -
Recently a friend and faithful follower of Christ gave me a thought provoking book, “The Ultimate Gift”. A book about morals, principals and life lessons it encourages one to reflect on the values and principals in one’s own life. I’ve been pondering it ever since.
In one of the chapters the main character, Red Stevens, travels for a year with a homeless man named Josh. As they travel, Red asks Josh why he is always in a good mood. Josh tells him about a discipline that he learned from his mother called the Golden List.
This is the way it works. Every morning before he gets up, Josh lies in bed or wherever he’s sleeping and imagines a golden tablet. He evaluates his day and where he is in life. He then writes down, in an imaginary way, ten things he’s most thankful for. This keeps him focused on the things of importance.
This is not a new idea. It’s called a gratitude list. Many people and religions do it. Even Oprah talked about it on her TV show. In fact, she did many shows on this topic. But “The Ultimate Gift” and the golden list are good reminders and a good exercise for all of us to start for the New Year.
Not only is it a good discipline but it is also biblical: Psalm 107:1 “O give thanks unto the Lord for he is good.” II Corinthians 2:14 “Now thanks be to God.” Ephesians 1:15 “I have not stopped giving thanks for you.” Ephesians 5:20 “Always give thanks to God the Father for everything.” I Thessalonians 1:2 “We always thank God for all of you.” I Thessalonians 5:18 “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” Revelation 10: 17 “We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, the One who is and who was.”
This is not a suggestion. It’s a command. Clearly God knows what he’s doing. Psychologically if one concentrates on what’s positive in life, things go better. It’s a mindset as well as a discipline. It’s a habit worth cultivating. The scripture tells us to give praise and thanks in all things.
I can’t help but contemplate the importance of beginning this practice now. As the days darken, and as the world moves into chaos, we as believers have the opportunity to be salt and light in a world gone awry. The first step is to get our minds right by walking daily in praise and thanksgiving for all things.
One of my favorite books is “The Hiding Place” by Corrie ten Boom. During World War II she and her family faced some of the most horrific situations and conditions known to man. And they did so with integrity and faith, which is a great model for us to follow. The foundation of their response to the inhumanity they experienced was to love and give praise and thanks in all things. In one scene they even give thanks for the fleas in their compound. Later they learned that they were able to do uninterrupted evening Bible studies in their compound because the guards were afraid to come in because of the fleas. Go figure. God works in mysterious ways.
This type of faith is surely beyond the understanding of most of us. But I don’t think this habit began for Corrie ten Boom while in the concentration camps. More than likely, she took the scriptures literally and began this spiritual discipline many years before. Eventually it moved from habit to an attitude of the heart that became part of her daily life and character. She could then draw on it when needed.
Makes sense to me. So start now. Make January 2012 the beginning of the rest of your life. Develop this spiritual discipline now while there is still time. Give thanks and praise to God in all things. Make a daily gratitude list, thanking God for the many blessings of this life. Move from a habit to a discipline to an attitude of the heart. Prepare yourself spiritually, for no one knows what the future might hold.
Maybe, just maybe, one day your golden list will be the ultimate gift for a world in darkness.