All of us have things we are responsible for.
At home the work piles up, housecleaning, managing, or repair. At the office, clients pile up and unfinished work stares you in the face. In school, there seems to be no end to the tests, studying, and lessons.
Long lists of to-do's face us all to varying degrees of intensity, all of them important to the list-bearer.
There's no need for me to tell you how much needs done and how little time there is to do it all in. As a young business owner, there is no end to what I need to be doing, making, researching, designing, learning, and etc.
Do I have the answer? Sorry, no. That's not what this post is about.
However, let me tell you a familiar story.
There once was a little girl who was full of ideas and noble dreams. She wanted to grow up to be a missionary and tell people in remote areas about the gospel. As the years passed she continued to have the dream of mission work but her idea of what serving God meant began to envelope more.
Her desire to teach the people around her began to grow.
Life continued and this girl, now a young woman, discovered other interests and God-given talents and eventually began work doing these very things. Work demanded a lot of time and energy. On occasion she was reminded of her original desires and she prayed that the Lord would use her in ministry.
Before long, she began to struggle with having time for the "more important" things, like God's work. She still had every intention of serving Him, and she fully understood that He was being served by her every day work. But work requirements demanded her attention and she had to make small choices, a little at a time, between which would win her attention.
Soon she found it hard to be happy with anything, her work, her plans, everything seemed to be falling apart. In that lull of a moment, when she stopped to ask "Why?", she remembered her first love, serving God. And she remembered her desire to spread the gospel, to teach and be involved in mission work. How had work become more important than serving God?
Obviously, this story is a bit dramatized. But it is in fact me. And you.
We start out in life full of ideas and dreams but as we grow, the responsibilities of life begin to replace those dreams and ideas until they are all but forgotten.
This happens -- it's called life.
But what is worse, however, is when God calls you and you are too busy to listen.
God says, I have a job for you and I need it done by this time. You love the Lord and want to serve Him, so you say yes. As you walk away from that meeting you began consulting your to-do list and you find that what He asked is going to conflict with what you already have planned.
You begin chewing your lip. Maybe I can do both, you reason. No, that's illogical, it just won't work. You're obviously going to have to choose one or the other. But business is business, you tell yourself, I have to be responsible, I have to meet my customers needs, prove to them that I am diligent and worthy of their respect. What will they think if I fail to meet my goals?
Pretty soon you have made your decision and you continue with your work, looking back regrettably at that entry on your to-do list. I'll do it tomorrow, you reassure yourself. But tomorrow comes and adds ten more "to-do's" to your list.
Our intentions are noble, we desire to be responsible, respectable, as well as successful, which is nothing wrong of itself. But why is it God can always take a back seat but our "responsibilities" can't?
This morning I was reading in Exodus where God was instructing the Israelites on how to go about constructing the tabernacle.
Verse 4 of chapter 36 is what started me in this line of thought. See if you understand where I am coming from,
"Then all the craftsmen who were doing all the work of the sanctuary came, each from the work he was doing..."
God called, He equipped, and they stopped their work to respond and obey.
Just like the disciples when Jesus called them some thousand years later, they stopped what they were doing and went.
This is a hard thing to grasp, is it not?
The Lord has given us work, we have jobs and people depend on us. How can He possibly expect us to stop what we are doing, and jump up and go?
Well, as for dropping your job and going, that's another subject.
But what about those little things He asks of us, like forgoing a business project in lieu of a ministry opportunity? All fingers point at myself with that one.
Or like letting go of your regular schedule to do something for someone else once in a while.
Like... you fill in the blank.
Whether we consider it serious or not, we all do it. Let God slide for immediate needs.
How long are we going to shrug our shoulders and say, I just can't seem to find enough time?
God has spoken to me about this and I have made some commitments to change some of these things that I have let come between Him and me. I don't promise that I will remain committed, nor do I claim to understand how. But God's grace is sufficient.
He equips whom He calls, and He calls whom He equips, (Romans 8:30).
What's stopping you from answering God's voice?
If the hard-working craftsmen in the Israelite camp can stop all work and repairs until God's tabernacle has been built, can't we sacrifice just a little of our time and maybe energy when He calls?
Wouldn't you say He's worth it?