This week my to-do list has been stout. I have to-dos item to accomplish other to-do items. But in truth, I like these sort of lists. In ministry, it can be difficult to define success, and so checking that virtual box to the left of an item in my Evernote list is my way of saying, “that little mission is accomplished!” It feels good, and rightly or wrongly that is one way I feel a sense of accomplishment.
Then there was today. With more than half the week gone and still a mountain of to-dos in front of me I was inundated with messages, office pop-ins, emails, texts… interruptions. My carefully crafted calendar was unraveling, and my type-A side was freaking out… Then something happened: Jesus interrupted.
When I look through the gospels, Jesus is always stopping. Always touching another person. Always having a meal with someone. Always challenging people. Always comforting people. Always stopping to smell the proverbial rose of relationships. In one of those moments, Jesus challenged the “to-do list” mentality.
38 Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. 39 And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. 40 But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” 41 But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, 42 but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” – Luke 10:38-42
Are to-do lists evil? No. Will I keep using them? Yes. Yet, what am I doing if the people become secondary or even tertiary? For me, I have to pray, “Lord, let the people come, let the interruptions come; the to-do list will be there tomorrow… And give me the heart to be glad when they do.”