We Didn’t DO anything! (kaizen)

11 Nov

It was my wife who encouraged me to begin writing again, and so I thought it fitting that I begin with writing a letter of encouragement for her.
Jen, My Lady, this one’s for you.

The name of my blog came from a movie, here I will explain why I chose it.

A divorce-what have I done! I haven’t done anything- What have I done!
Larry, don’t be a child. You haven’t “done” anything. I haven’t “done” anything.
Yes! Yes! We haven’t done anything!

You might remember this somewhat humorous exchange between Larry Gopnik and his wife Judith.

We live in a broken world; things don’t stay the way they are, and everything is in a constant state of decay. We are either growing or dying. Improving or decaying. Larry and Judith didn’t necessarily “do anything” wrong, but it seems obvious that they had not been “doing anything” to maintain their marriage.

The same goes for pretty much everything in life. Left on their own; gardens don’t stay watered and pest free, bicycle tires do not stay full of air, dishes do not stay clean, repetitive jobs do not stay exciting, coffee does not stay warm, and beds do not stay made. In short: life is messy.

How’s that for encouraging? Don’t worry, that’s only half the story.
The good news is the Gospel. We have been forgiven much. Christ loved/loves us, enabling us to love each other, and to love others. How does that love materialize? So many ways! That’s the exciting part. There are thousands upon thousands of ways that you and I can reflect the love of Christ into this dark and dying world.
We’ve already talked a little bit about how a holy/loving marriage is a huge blessing to others. Did you know that working hard with a good attitude can do the same thing? It’s something I struggle with acting out, but people notice it. If they don’t, God does. Work can be an act of worship, a service to Christ. A graceful response where a slap in the face is warranted, a small personal act of service where none was required, a large and cheerful sacrifice where none was asked for. These things do not come naturally, to quote Chris Lazzo, who I think was quoting someone else: “we do not drift into holiness”. Active pursuit is necessary, and never forget that we have access to the Creator of the universe, who is able to do more than anything we could imagine. (Eph 3:20, Romans 8:26) Also: I’m here for you too. 🙂

There is a Japanese term “kaizen” that I’ve been thinking of. It means something along the lines of “continuous/daily improvement”. The idea is that perfection is never reached, there is always something to be improved on. The same concept can be applied to our pursuit of Christ and each other.

While the idea of kaizen may be discouraging to many, it should be a source of joy for us.
Because kaizen just says there are obstacles, but the gospel says we can overcome them!
ALL of them!!!!!

“Run, Daniel, run,” the law commands
But gives us neither feet nor hands.
Yet better news the gospel brings;
It bids us fly and gives us wings.

As I write this, I am thinking of you alone behind that desk, praying that your day goes well.

Eph 3:14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom every family[a] in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your heart through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

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