I recently finished listening to the audiobook Everybody, Always by Bob Goff. I sincerely enjoyed it and can’t wait to hear his latest, Love Does when it is available to borrow from my library.
While I enjoyed the entire audiobook, Chapter 17 really resonated with me. It is titled, “My Bucket” and in this chapter, Goff asks the question, “How is your life working for the people around you?” For a time, he carried around an actual bucket to remind him of the areas in his life that need work. He said his bucket needs to be filled with patience and recalls a time when he chose the wrong line at the car rental return and needed to dip into his bucket of patience to avoid giving the pokey employee a dressing down. Using his bucket allowed him to respond kindly to the attendant. He was even able to throw in a compliment for good measure about how happy he was with his visit as well as his rental car experience. This was no small feat considering he had missed his flight due to the delay!
As he was walking away from the rental car return, he heard a summons from the attendant who was moving toward him with a much speedier gait. Upon catching up to Goff, the young man tapped him on the shoulder and said, “I just wanted to let you know that I really enjoyed your sermon this morning.” The chances of this same young man being at the service earlier that day and working the exact lane Goff chose is astronomical. By acting as Jesus would have, though, Goff solidifed the message of love that he had conveyed that morning as a guest speaker. He queried that had he not dipped into his bucket of patience, the message this young man would have taken away might have been much different than the positive one that he received that morning and then had corroborated by Goff’s actions.
Goff states that we need to find ways to engage differently with the people around us and this means all the people around us, not just those that we like or relate to. How we treat the rental car return guy, the grocery bagger, even the person who gets on our last nerve lets people know how we really are with Jesus. Goff says, “Jesus never had a problem with people who knew their shortcomings. He didn’t tolerate people who faked it.”
Goff’s daughter is an elementary teacher and her grading system is not the standard one. For report card grades, she uses the following system:
- M = Mastered
- G = Grade Level
- N = Not Yet
Goff believes that if we use this sytem in our lives, we may have more forgiveness for ourselves and more tolerance for others. We haven’t achieved mastery, but having the intention that we are aiming for that and just aren’t there quite yet can help us to keep striving. Jesus is the only one who has mastered life, but he has infinite patience with the rest of us who keep plodding on, trying to improve ourselves and the world around us.
One statement that I really liked is the following, “Stop laying sod where he [Jesus] planted seed. He is more interested in making us grow than in having us look finished.” I think that statement speaks to me because I can be too much of a perfectionist and like to have everything all tied up in a neat little bow. I need to remember that I am a work in process and that it is fine to admit that I don’t have life all figured out.
I will end with another wonderful quote from Mother Teresa. She was a master of unconditional love for the very least among us. I will strive to be like her and like Jesus and am quite sure I will not succeed, but I will keep trying!