If you're anything like me, functioning, even at the most basic level, without a calendar is like asking a college student to make it through a day of classes without coffee. It just won't happen. And by the way, please never ask me to do the latter either.
In fact, I'd say I'm nailing adulting on the head (lies...) considering I have three calendars: one for school, one for ministry/work, and one on my phone, simply because it's easier to carry around. I also keep a note on my phone with a tentative writing schedule and ideas that come to mind.
And with all the in mind, I still constantly feel overwhelmed, unorganized, and overcommitted.
As we touched on at the very beginning of our 40-day journey together, people are busy. Most of us would say we wear many different hats. And if we were to take a look in the mirror, we'd probably admit that many of those hats clash with one another. Our parent hat might clash with our employee hat, and our volunteer hat may clash with our spouse hat. But we continue to get up everyday and layer all these hats and try to convince ourselves that we are rockin' them and we can handle balancing 12 hats on our head. When we totally aren't and we totally can't.
Multiple hats aren't necessarily a bad thing. After all, God has given each of us unique talents and abilities and it's our responsibility to utilize those gifts for the sake of the Kingdom and gospel advancement. However, Jesus himself taught us that we must remain focused on the One Thing.
One of the best narratives teaching on busyness and its potential dangers is found in Luke 10. Here we find sisters Mary and Martha hosting Jesus Christ himself in their home, an honor we today cannot even comprehend. Mary uses this time to literally sit at the feet of Jesus, soaking up each precious moment with him. Martha, on the other hand, is overwhelmed with cleaning, cooking, setting the table, making herself presentable, basically, putting on a dinner party that would knock Jesus' sandals off. I think we'd all like to imagine that if we were given the opportunity to host our Savior, we would resemble Mary, but I know as well as you do that most of us would, unfortunately, favor Martha's approach.
Jesus handles this situation with a brilliant lesson still applicable to all Christ followers today...
"Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed- or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her." (Luke 10:41-42, New International Version).
Man, do you identify with Martha or what? I know I do. So often when we embark on a journey (much like we have been the past few weeks...) to get closer to Jesus, we think that means we need to practice our addition skills. Adding more things, more activities, more involvement, more Christian stuff. And it might. But it might also require us to take a few hats off for a minute, practicing subtraction, instead. Like Martha, we might need to take our homemaker hat off and readjust our disciple hat. Maybe, for you, this means continually practicing this idea of Lent far beyond Easter, constantly checking your heart's priority line-up and laying aside for a period of time whatever it is that is holding you hostage from Jesus, as was Jesus' message to Martha. The only way the Kingdom will flourish is through the power and presence of Jesus Christ, not our accomplishments and ability to "get stuff done". The real star of the show that night in the sisters' home was Jesus, not the appetizers, specialty wine, or Martha's impeccably clean home. That power and presence reside in us, and we are without doubt a vessel God has set aside to reveal this goodness, but it is often hard to see underneath our built-up layers of commitments and wrongful devotion.
Doing "stuff" isn't the problem here. Martha attending to her home and providing a hospitable atmosphere was nowhere near wrong. And neither is your devotion to your job, your volunteer projects, etc. But we must abandon the belief that the more of this world that we pile on ourselves, the closer we get to Heaven. Instead, when we shift our thinking to the things above, the things we should prioritize here below become all the more clear and easier to manage, and naturally result in the revealing of that power and presence. It's truly a simple concept. Not a simple execution, especially in today's society, but we must remember the words of Jesus: only one thing matters. At the end of the day, when all the hats come off, Jesus remains. Let the things of Jesus shape your calendars and commitments. -Taylor