I posted this one other time back in 2007, but was struggling with some of the same issues today. I thought it was worth reposting:
Charles E. Hummel writes, “We live in a constant tension between the urgent and the important.” He talks about a cottonmill manager who said, “Your greatest danger is letting the urgent things crowd out the important.”
These ideas describe my life perfectly. I can rush from one great ministry event to another without ever meeting with God. I can work my fingers to the bone serving God and never experience Him. I can get so busy with the work of God, that I don’t really ever “work.” (I’m of no use to God). We must be very careful about priorities. A leader must be intentional about deciding what things are important and he must devote time to those things even if other “good” or “urgent” things are put aside. The “good” can be the enemy of the “great.” What’s that old saying? “If the devil can’t tempt you, he’ll make you busy.” He’ll do whatever it takes to render the believer useless. If the leader doesn’t set his calendar, then the calendar will run his life for him. Each of us is gonna be held responsible for being the steward of our time so we can’t let our calendars run our lives – we’ve got to decide what’s important and what’s not.
Check out this article from Ed Stetzer’s blog. It describes some pretty interesting research on the state of affairs for most Christian parents today. What does it mean when less than 10% of Christian parents think that “being Godly” or “having faith” is one of the marks of parental success? That means that over 90% of “Christians” believe they can be successful parents without passing on their faith to their own children – those whom they love more than anyone else. Huh?
The research also shows that 83% of parents believe that they are the main spiritual influences on their children, but 48% (almost half) of them don’t consider their own faith as an important influence in their parenting. This means they recognize their influence, but don’t see their faith as a priority in parenting.
All this stuff got me to thinking. I’m gonna sit down with Miranda see if together we can write up a “basic” list of the things we want to instill in our children – I’m sure there will be more, but if we want to be successful, and we want to be intentional about what we consider to be the marks of a good parent, then writing it down certainly can’t hurt. Even if it’s an incomplete list, it’ll be better than nothing.
Matthew 18:15-20 – If someone sins against you, then you are responsible for going to them to explain how they’ve hurt you and seek reconciliation.
Matthew 5:23 – If you have sinned against someone, then you are responsible for going to them seeking reconciliation.
I can’t help but notice that we are personally responsible for all of our relationships – even if someone has wronged us. No matter who has sinned – we are personally responsible. If we as Christians would practice this, we’d have both parties coming to each other simultaneously seeking reconciliation. Does that ever happen? I’d say it’s pretty rare – most of the time at least one of the parties wants to hold a grudge or be bitter about it all. Have you ever heard anyone say that so and so didn’t handle this or that biblically ’cause they didn’t come to me about it. According to these Scriptures, the person saying that is just as much in the wrong. The one instance I’m not sure about is this – what if you know someone has a problem with you – there is broken relationship, and they are accusing you falsely. If they don’t come to us (which doesn’t happen very often) then are we responsible to go to them? When we haven’t sinned?
Romans 14 talks about this stuff too. Verse 13 says, “Don’t put any stumbling block in your brothers way.” It’s critical to realize that this is talking about “stumbling” in regards to their relationship with Christ. It doesn’t apply to someone being offended that you wore jeans to church. In issues of preference, we are to accept one another without passing judgment (14:1) and yet still lovingly defend our own position (14:16) – always remembering to “make every effort to do what leads to peace.” (14:19)
It’s interesting to me that we are each responsible for maintaining good relationships in regards to sin and hurting one another (which has to do with division in the body), but in other areas we are instructed to live lovingly an humbly in the tension of different viewpoints and preferences. It makes complete sense really – it’s all about priorities and keeping the main thing the main thing.
I saw a man carrying a “Rock Band” video game box in a stroller today. It wasn’t a big deal, but his wife was carrying their baby in her arms. I’m sure he’s a good dad, and I’m sure it was just more practical since the game box was heavier than the baby, but it just struck me funny. It just didn’t seem right. I’m sure someone else will watch me one day doing something similar with Kasen and they’ll question my intentions too. I’m just wondering when that will be? Has it already happened? What kinds of things do I do that people watch and make judgments about? Do they judge me in this sort of way, or do they see Jesus in some way? I wonder if someone was watching me watching him? What would they have thought if they could have read my mind?
Man God, I need you. I’m pretty messed up. Help me become who You want me to be.
I love my school! It has been a huge change for me over the past year to get into all these new habits of studying for school in addition to all my normal studies for my job and teaching and all, but it’s been good. I feel like I’m learning how to think again. I’ve really been challenged both in my thinking/theology and in my scheduling/priorities.
This week for example has been really crazy. I just left La Porte FUMC this morning at 6am so I could come to class today. I normally attend the evening class, but this week is UM ARMY week and so I’ve got other commitments (I’m leading worship and doing programs) tonight and decided to come to the morning class. Anyway, this is also the last week of class this time around (Acts and Paul’s Epistles), which means that all our homework and stuff is due next week. Up until this summer, I had straight “A’s” for all my classes, but I took my first “B” last time ’cause I just didn’t have time (because of my summer schedule) to finish all the work.
It appears that this class is gonna be the same. I could probably really push forward and get the “A”, but I also have a life outside of school (Remember, Miranda is pregnant) and so I’m just gonna have to settle for the “B” again this time. I love all this stuff, and it’s really good for me, but my bride and having some time with her has simply got to be my first priority – besides, a “B” is still a good grade. I’m really hoping that once the summer is over, I can get into a more regular routine again and get back to the “A’s” I used to get.