4 Ways to have the best day of your life
Have you ever intentionally tried to have the best day of your life?
In the fifth chapter of Matthew, Jesus gives us 4 ways to actually have the best day of our lives. Now I know that’s not the context he gives for today’s teaching but bear with me for a minute here because sometimes we can hear something so many times it loses its sharpness or its weight. And let’s be honest there’s nothing quite like hearing that amazing song or experiencing that powerful scene in a movie for the first time. It’s like every time we hear it after that first time, it loses a bit of its luster.
When it comes to the Gospels, if you grow up hearing the story of Jesus, it’s almost as if you never get a chance to really experience it for the first time unless a time comes to you or strikes you in a new or you consider it in a new and different way.
So let’s do that. Let’s break this Gospel down into Jesus’ 4 different teachings and consider, what it would be like if we dedicated an entire day to trying to live that teaching completely.
The first teaching is the famous turn the other cheek: “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also.
Fulton Sheen once said, “hate multiples like a seed. If one preaches hate and violence to ten men in a row, and tells the first to strike the second, and the second to strike the third, the hatred will envelop all ten. The only way to stop this hate is for one man to turn his other cheek. Then the hatred ends.
Maybe I’m the only one here but everywhere I turn I seem to run into a chain of hatred. Well, what if we spent a day, being the one who breaks that chain. Being the one who doesn’t retaliate or who doesn’t justify wrong action by citing the vile behavior of another. What if hate was met with honorable conduct and persistent goodness? What would that day be like?
The second teaching is: if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well; and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile. Give to everyone who begs from you, and do not refuse anyone who wants to borrow from you.
When I was first introduced this passage, I wanted to try and live it literally. So I asked God to put me in a situation where I could give the modern equivalent of my cloak. I prayed this prayer for a bit over a month until one day I went to a baseball game downtown on a cool September night. My soon to be wife and I struck up a conversation with a homeless man. He asked us for food. We gave him some. During the conversation though he told me how worried he was about how cold it would get overnight and that he didn’t have proper clothing. So I thanked God for answering my prayer offered him the sweatshirt I was wearing off my back. He was stunned. And took it gratefully.
Spend a day giving to everyone who asks of you and offering them something more than what they ask of you. And it will be one of the best days of your life.
The third teaching is: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.
This one is a doozy. What your day be like if you took some time and wrote down all the people who make your blood boil. Those people who you want to go to God and ask him, what were you thinking when you made this person. Those who wronged you. Who cut you off on the road, who put you down and didn’t believe you, those who spout views you would spend a lifetime opposing. And then pray for them. By name. And then as you go about your day, anytime someone does something, tweets something, says something that frustrates you…pray for them.
The fourth teaching is: For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have?
Do something for someone who doesn’t love you. There is someone in your life who drives you nuts. They’re not mean or evil or all that terrible. They are just nails on a chalkboard to you and you would rather spend a day with almost anyone else. Do something kind for that person, like over the top generous. You’ll be amazed at what happens next.
We often wonder, how did the world get to be such a mess?
It seems to be the prevailing question of a whole generation of people exasperated by the state of the world and frustrated at the lack of a compelling answer to the question.
That’s the bad news.
The good news is, Jesus knows exactly how it got to be this way. And, best of all, He knows how to turn things around.
The world is such a mess because its turned its back on Him and His teaching. We got here, because of unholy moments, committed every day by loads and loads of people. And the only way to turn things around is to turn back toward Jesus and commit our lives to collaborating with him in the creation of Holy Moments. Today Jesus shares four amazing ways to do just that. And the fun thing is, if you do just one of them, you’ll have one of the best days of your life.