Monday, November 11th, 2019
I saw something in Scripture that just made my day. Why? Because it said to me that it’s okay to say “That’s not my job.” If you constantly struggle with priorities and feel as though you are being pulled apart by demands and responsibilities, this could be great news for you, too. I’d like to share my thoughts with you.
One of the things I taught in my business seminars is that you should never say, “It’s not my job.” But would you believe that Jesus said that once? It’s in Luke 12:13-14, where a man asked Jesus to be a judge and Jesus responded by saying, “Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?” In essence, he said, “That’s not my job.”
I can imagine this man figured Jesus was the right person to settle this argument between him and his brother. As they say, “If you want something done, ask a busy person to do it.” But Jesus told him that he was not called to be, nor did he intend to try to become, an earthly judge in human affairs. I’m sure he was not unkind about it, but he certainly was direct.
In Mark 1:35-38 we see another example of a time when Jesus disappointed people. The whole town had gathered to hear him and be healed, and his disciples were most anxious for him to come and please this crowd. But Jesus made a decision to go elsewhere, undoubtedly disappointing the crowd. You see, Jesus spent much time in the presence of his Father—he knew his priorities very well.
Jesus did not avoid these people because he was tired or because he did not care. No, he often gave of himself tirelessly, going without food and rest in order to minister to the many who came to him for help. He was frequently exhausted—but he was never feverish, frazzled, or burned-out.
Why? Because he knew what he was called to do. He knew what God’s priorities were for him, and that’s what he did. He left other things undone—things which other people thought he should do—because he knew what was important and what wasn’t.
Burn-out doesn’t come from doing God’s will. Burn-out is a result of not appropriately separating the urgent from the important. This is one lesson I have to learn and re-learn.
Tuesday, November 12th, 2019
Jesus could say at the end of his short earthly life, “I have finished the work which you gave me to do.” (John 17:4) But I wonder how many of us will be able to say that? Are you doing what God has given you to do, or are you distracted and burned-out by trying to do urgent things that are not truly important?
Though Jesus did much during his short earthly life, he didn’t do everything everybody wanted him to do. He didn’t heal all the sick; he didn’t reach everyone. When so much was left undone, how could Jesus say he had finished his work? In his pamphlet, “The Tyranny of the Urgent,” Charles Hummel puts it so well:
“Here is the secret of Jesus’ life and work for God: He prayerfully waited for His Father’s instructions and for the strength to follow them. Jesus. . .discerned the Father’s will day by day in a life of prayer. By this means He warded off the urgent and accomplished the important.”
If we want to be free from burn-out and free from being victimized by the loud voices of urgency which surround us, we must remember what Jesus told us: “If you continue in my word, then you are truly disciples of mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free” (John 8:31-32). A life of prayer and a life of daily abiding in the Word of God is our key. But oh, how easy it is to let these truly important things be shoved aside by all our urgent voices.
Urgent things usually have deadlines and time frames, while important things may not. Therefore, it’s quite easy to do the urgent things, but leave the important things undone.
What we Christians need in order to find balance in our lives is to get rid of some of those urgent voices and determine to do what is important. At the top of our important list should be the commitment to spend substantial time in our pursuit of knowing the living God.
Wednesday, November 13th, 2019
It’s highly likely that the burn-out you and I experience—the frazzled nerves and frayed edges—are a result of taking on jobs God never intended for us to do. We are trying to be superwomen or supermen, thinking we can be all things to all people, and never saying, “It’s not my job.” In the midst of all those urgent voices, you may have shortchanged what is important: The word of God and prayer.
You cannot allow others—no matter how well-intentioned—to cause you to try to be what you’re not supposed to be. You may disappoint them—but if you’re going to be effective for God, you must avoid the tendency to try to be all things to all people.
This doesn’t mean you’ll live a life of ease with no pressures. I’m sure the hours will still be long, and exhaustion will still be a part of your life. But the more you submerge yourself into God’s Word, the less frantic you’ll be, the more you’ll know what God wants and doesn’t want you to do, and the more peaceful and calm you can be as you face your heavy schedule.
In his booklet, “The Tyranny of the Urgent,” Charles Hummel has a suggestion which I think is excellent. He suggests that in addition to our daily time of getting to know God, we set aside one hour a week for spiritual inventory—to evaluate what’s happened over the past week and plan for the week ahead. To make certain our To-Do List has the important things at the top.
To help you and me in that process, I’ve written a simple guideline to use for that spiritual inventory (click on link below to download). If you are serious about getting your priorities in line—spending serious time getting to know God, weeding out the unimportant things on your list of priorities, putting God’s Word and prayer at the top of your list—then you may find this guide for a weekly spiritual inventory helpful.
I wonder what would happen in our worlds if Christians considered important things a higher priority than urgent things. It could be a very exciting adventure! To that end, I hope many of you will consider using this weekly spiritual inventory. I believe it will be a great help in getting you out of crisis mode and into a more God-centered lifestyle.