One of the dangers of 21st century ministry, in my opinion, is the vast amount of work before us. Emails, paperwork, visits, sermon preparation, leadership tasks are all important and necessary aspects of serving the Lord today. But have you mindlessly accomplished things before? If you’re honest, you would have to say, “Yes.” In the busy, fast-paced, “to do list” type of society we live in, it is extremely easy to live to simply “get things done.” Our lives become a checklist. At the end of the day, we collapse in our beds, thankful to get things done. But the question is, did you really accomplish anything?
Allow me to go ahead and get this out of the way, I am not talking about soul winning, sermon preparation, sending encouraging emails and texts as wastes of time. They are necessary, as we’ve already stated. But I am afraid that sometimes God has something so much more for me if I allow my mind and heart to engage the duty. Let me give you a personal example (and please don’t crucify me for this).
One of my duties at our church is to manage our overall ministry calendar. With over 30 ministries (I know that doesn’t seem like a lot… until you plug in all their dates on a calendar!) it’s a constant challenge to find everyone the time they request to host activities, avoid conflicts, and so forth. Inevitably someone feels left out or overwhelmed, depending on what end of the ministry stick you’re holding. To track everyone’s dates, I have an iPhone (thank you, Steve Jobs- not). I have everyone’s calendar synced to mine so I can see all the dates. Does that make me responsible or just the patsy?
Just kidding. But that said, my calendar is filled. Reminders pop up often, whether it’s a ministry I’m involved in or not. Add to that our personal calendar and I’m tired just thinking about it. I often drag myself through the calendar, hoping to catch my breath from time to time. Those breath-catching times – my family time and dates with my girls!
But here’s what happens, I go on a date and sometimes I treat it as another one of the things I’m trying to get done. I’m waiting to cross it off my list. It’s a badge of “schedule fulfillment.” All the while I haven’t maximized my time with my wife and/or my daughter. Why? Because I’m always looking at what’s next, what else needs to be done.
I purchased a book that really convicted me (I’ll share the title when I’m done reading it, so stay tuned). It was about the time I should spend with my daughter. In the book were ideas on how to connect with her on a spiritual, emotional (that’ll be tough), social, and mental level. It outlined passages of Scriptures to read before the date, how to prepare for it, and what should be accomplished through it. I don’t want to hear about Anabelle’s day on Facebook or Twitter. I want her to tell me. I want to connect with her because my love for her should be her reference point for God’s love. My date nights were not simply things that needed to get done and checked off the list. There’s more at stake!
How are you approaching life? Are you like me? Do you sometimes get in a “gotta get things done” mode? I’m afraid I’ve missed out when I did that. I prayed the other night that God would help me to avoid that mentality. Life is too precious, my family is too important, and my ministry deserves better. Getting things done is good but don’t forget for Whom and why you need to get things done in the first place.