“We must be ready to allow ourselves to be interrupted by God.”
― Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Okay, I freely admit I am bad at this. I think it’s part of my slightly anxious personality to need a plan; it gives me a sense of control. If my plan is interrupted, it throws my whole day off. I feel rushed and flustered. I have to continually remind myself that I am retired–if circumstances intervene, I can do that chore or errand or make that phone call tomorrow!
If you read through the gospels, you will find that Jesus was constantly interrupted. His teaching was interrupted by the men who lowered their friend down through the roof in hopes Jesus would heal him (He did); His sleep was interrupted when the disciples begged Him to get up and save them from the storm that was threatening their boat (He did); His journey was interrupted by a blind man who called out to Him (He stopped); He was interrupted by children (He blessed them).
My plans for today, this week, this year or even the rest of my life are trivial compared to the plans of Jesus, but He never failed to put people first. In fact, He made people part of His plan; every interaction was an opportunity to share God’s love and explain God’s plan. That’s the plan that’s really important.
“The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I have no need of you’ nor again the head to the feet, ‘I have no need of you.'” 1 Corinthians 12:21
One thing it’s hard for us to learn, and especially for women, I think, is it’s ok to say “no” sometimes. If you are a people-pleaser, like I am, you want to say “yes” so people will like you. You don’t want to let people down. Our culture also tells us we can have it all and do it all: we can be wives and mothers, CEO’s and caretakers, and creative artists all at the same time. Frankly, it’s not true, and it can be a set up for failure.
So, we have to be good stewards of our time as well as our money. One time to say no, is if we’re ask to do something that is clearly outside of our skill set. For example, I’m not detail oriented, so if I’m asked to be the church treasurer or organize a big fundraiser, I need to say no. That is the choice that will work to everyone’s benefit!
There may be seasons in our lives when we’re overwhelmed with responsibilities at home or at work. When I was a mother of two very young children, I chose to be on the Altar Guild instead of serving on the Church Council. An hour of alone time setting up communion was just what I needed, and all the time I had to give. Saying no for a while, doesn’t mean saying no forever. The time came when I went back to “active duty.”
Another important thing to remember about saying no, is it gives somebody else a chance to say yes. There may be another member of the body who has just the right combination of talents to do the work you can’t. Others will never get a chance to stretch and grow if you think you have to do it all.
Finally, when you take on a challenging task that stretches you (and you should do this at times), pick something that matches your abilities, and ask for help if you need it. We are all one body and we’re meant to work together to accomplish God’s work.
Well, I had a different theme in mind for this month, but after reading Kate’s post yesterday, I decided she raised some important questions that the Lutheran Ladies need to address. What are our spiritual gifts? How do we employ them? What activities inspire creativity? What does it mean to rest? How do we lead balanced lives? How do I become a good steward of the time and gifts with which I have been blessed. I think we can incorporate all of these ideas under the umbrella of “spending time.”
Time is one of the gifts God has given us, but we only have so much. Eventually, for every human, time will run out. It’s an issue we all struggle with in a society that gives us so many options. You’ve all heard the question, “what’s on your bucket list?” ….in other words, what are the things you need to do or accomplish to make your life meaningful.
Kate’s post “Free Time” asked for input from our authors and readers. I hope each of you will give her some ideas this month, drawn from your own experience. Tell us all about your gifts, how you discovered them, and how you have used them to become the person God intended you to be.
God loves you and so do I! Happy blogging and reading!
“And do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” Hebrews 13:16
There’s an old saying I’ve heard many times in Christian circles –if the devil can’t make you bad, he’ll make you busy. When I get together with some of the women of our church, we usually spend time complaining about how busy we are. Of course, we’re busy doing good things like teaching Sunday School, preparing for Bible study, cooking for fellowship dinners, serving in community organizations — but still, it can become overwhelming. We lose sight of why we are doing those good things (for the glory of God, as Kate told us in Sacrifice and Love) and they just become items on a ‘to do’ list we need to check off.
We can also become so busy we miss the small, yet important things we can do spontaneously every day. We become too distracted to really listen to our husband, child or friend. We don’t have time to send a card or note to someone who is ill or a shut-in. We keep meaning to invite that lonely person to dinner, but never get around to it. We have good intentions, but you know what they say about that!
In Hosea 6:6, God tells us, “For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.”
God doesn’t just want our time, He wants our life. Michele talked about that in the post, Living Sacrifice. He doesn’t want us to become so caught up with the chores of the church that we neglect His people. He wants us to read the Bible in order to know Him, not to memorize verses or historical facts.
Now I know some of you are thinking, somebody has to do these things! You’re not alone. Martha said the same thing in Chapter 10 of the book of Luke. Do you remember what Jesus told her?
“Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things; one thing is needful…”Luke 10:41-42.
We need to be good stewards of our time and talent. We need to spend time every morning offering the day to God. Martin Luther did. Read this quote:
If I fail to spend two hours in prayer each morning, the devil gets the victory through the day. I have so much business I cannot get on without spending three hours daily in prayer. –Martin Luther
Maybe I can’t live up to this standard, but I can start the day with prayer, asking God to prioritize my time, and use my day in accordance with His plan not mine. I can pray before I volunteer, and try to listen for direction. I can stop worrying so much and trust God. What about you? What is your plan to become a God-pleasing sacrifice? Send us your thoughts.