Have you ever noticed how many lists of ten we encounter in our daily lives? There are the Top Ten of the music charts, the Ten Greatest Hitters of All Time, the Ten Richest Persons in the World, and so on. “Ten” is a good day, a great performance, or a beautiful woman.
I encountered recently two lists of ten, both of which offer suggestions for living a better life. One of them was “The Cherokee Indian Ten Commandments.” With typical cultic wisdom, our Native American cousins offer some sound suggestions for living a good life. They instruct us:
- Remain close to the Great Spirit. 2. Show great respect for your fellow beings. 3. Give assistance and kindness wherever needed. 4. Be truthful and honest at all times. 5. Do whatever you know to be right. 6. Look after the wellbeing of mind and body. 7. Treat the earth and all that dwell therein with respect. 8. Take full responsibility for your own actions. 9. Dedicate a share of your efforts to the greater good. 10. Work together for the benefit of all mankind.
The other list of “ten” I encountered was by Barbara Gage and was entitled, “Ten Suggestions for A Brighter Future.” She admonishes us to: 1, Realize that life isn’t always fair and never will be. Accept what you must, change what you can, and make the most of what you have. 2. Think before you act. A moment of carelessness or anger can cause years of anguish and regret. Consider the long-term effects of a momentary decision. 3. Look for the beauty in life, in people, in nature, and in yourself. Beauty surrounds us everywhere; God put it there. 4. Appreciate what you have – the people, the opportunities, your possessions, everything. Moreover, take time to express gratitude. Let people know you love and appreciate them. 5. Make every effort to have fun. It is a great way to bond with others, and it helps to create wonderful memories. Contrary to popular belief, it is not a sin to enjoy life. 6. Set aside some time for yourself. It is not selfish to do so. In fact, it is vitally necessary for good mental and physical health. Do things you enjoy without feeling guilty. 7. Accept others without being judgmental. Every person is unique, and it is all right to be different. We make a terrible mistake when we prejudge others because of their body, their name, their race, their national origin, or other such minor considerations. Give everyone the benefit of the doubt and assume the best about them. 8. Forgive…and try to forget. Stored up bitterness and resentment hurt you more than they do the person toward whom you feel them. In addition, anger turned inward results in depression. Get over it, and be bigger than the hurts you have received. 9. Keep on learning. Keep your mind open to new ideas and activities, and don’t be afraid to try new things. As we get older, many of life’s “required” courses are behind us, but wonderful new “electives” are available everywhere. 10. And finally, continue to dream. Make large plans. Aim high. Believe in yourself. Go for what you want. Someone has written, “When dreams die, life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly.”
Whether our future is one of decades, years, months, or only days, the suggestions in the two lists above can be helpful. Now…a homework assignment: take your Bible, and see how many verses you can find that echo the ideas above.