The other day I made a list of everything I had to get done. Some were personal chores – do the dishes, organize my file cabinet. Some happened to be people I needed to call and emails I must respond to. Yet what “filled my plate” consisted mainly of ministry related items. While the list was long, no item caused me dread. But it was the items NOT on the list – that I desired to add – which made me unhappy.
For a long time I have wanted to learn to play the guitar, the djembe, and how to contact juggle. I’ve wanted to take classes in massage therapy, creative writing, and the Deeper Christian Life. I’ve wanted to take time to explore Scotland, Paul’s missionary journeys, and write a book. I’ve even had the wild notion to get married to a beautiful Godly woman one day. While all these things are not necessarily bad – and I may well get to some of them – I made a discovery: I don’t have enough time for everything.
I was reading Amy Carmichael’s book God’s Missionary the other day (which I highly recommend to every Christian) and came across an incredible quote by Dr. Roberts of Tientsin:
. . . life is not long enough for everything.
Amy goes on to suggest that perhaps rather than attempting to accomplish everything, we “narrow down” our lives so it has purpose and focus. If I were to learn guitar, it might be fun but I won’t ever be great at it. I can hit a djembe and make noise, but it won’t ever measure up to what a drummer can do. So what if I invest my time in that which deepens me in Jesus and furthers His Kingdom? Perhaps better stated: what if Jesus became my focus, and the only thing that takes up my time, my agenda, my strength, is what He wants to accomplish and produce in and through my life? If my life was completely at His disposal, to spill and spend as He saw fit, He wouldn’t waste it on trifles and fooleries but on bringing forth the Kingdom, showcasing His glory, and deepening me in the richness of His Person.
While there may not be time for everything, everything in my life can be focused, sourced and produced by Him.