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It is difficult not to have plans, not to organize people around an urgent cause, and not to feel that you are working directly for social progress. But I wonder more and more if the first thing shouldn’t be to know people by name, to eat and drink with them, to listen to their stories and tell your own, and to let them know with words, handshakes, and hugs that you do not simply like them, but you truly love them.
— Henry Nouwen

Ecclesiastes 2:10-11
Matthew 7:21-23
1 John 4:7-12

Modern Americans typically keep a calendar of their daily, weekly and monthly activities. We create lists, make appointments and schedule lunches. Whether the list is handwritten or exists on your iPhone, the truth remains the same – the things on our calendar drive our daily lives.

Perhaps our busy schedules explain why we don’t ponder our purpose. Because at the end of a day, we can point to meetings, events and people that filled our time slots.

Jesus cares about our calendars and how we spend our time. Not just now, not just for us, but for him and for eternity. One of the most terrifying things Jesus tells his disciples is, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 7:21). Something more than recognition of Jesus as Lord is required of us. Our faith needs wheels and an engine.

Jesus focuses more on the heart than the action. More than this, Jesus says that “only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven” will enter the kingdom of heaven.

Believers today presume much regarding the “Lord’s work.” Christians often lean toward serving the poor, visiting impoverished nations, and being missionaries in foreign lands, because these are actions of the “saints.” But if the emphasis is on the heart, the greatest work yet may be to learn the art of solitude.

Jesus didn’t rush thither and yon. His life required no scheduler. Jesus spent his time walking place to place, speaking to the people who crossed his path, and loving them.

When the Pharisees asked Jesus how they should live, he left the options wide open. He said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. And love your neighbor as yourself.”

Without giving specifications, Jesus directed that these two commandments should dictate how we spend our days. So we can have our meetings, plan our lunches, and fill our schedules. But in the midst of it all, we need to care for people and pursue the Father’s will.  If we focus on the first part but find ourselves neglecting the second, then perhaps we need to slow down and ask our Father what he would have us do.


When you look at your calendar, where do you see yourself spending your time?
Do these things match your desired purpose for life?
What needs to change?

Amy


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