To Do List

Have you ever had one of those Sunday sermons that seemed to just drag on, and with each introduced talking point your frustration grew? For me, these are few and far between. And they absolutely have nothing to do with my Pastor, they are all about me. But this past Sunday, I just couldn’t sit still, waiting for the message to end. I was aggravated at myself more than anything else because I knew in church was where I needed to be. My mind kept wandering to all of the things I had on my continuously growing ‘to do’ list (and it was just my weekend list- things I wanted to accomplish before I went back to work on Tuesday). (Notice that these are things that I wanted to accomplish- not necessarily things that actually needed to get done). The message was great. And when the sermon finally was over, I noticed we seemed to let out a little earlier than usual. So why my impatience?
Well, if you knew me, you’d know that patience has never been a strong trait for me. I can get easily frustrated at the tiniest thing. (You should see the aggravation when I carry laundry to the washer then have to go back and pick up items I dropped (stupid socks)). But when you dig down, you see my impatience, frustration, etc. all stem from [me]. For instance, with the laundry- if I didn’t let it pile so high that I can’t carry the load in one shot, I wouldn’t drop socks. Or my list…most of it related back to things I’d put off until last minute, or for so long that it was overwhelming me. (I will not attempt to detail my list, and let you into how crazy my mind really does work at times (mostly)).
And when you really dig down deeper, it stems to my selfishness. What I want, when I want it. (Now). I don’t want to be inconvenienced. And isn’t that how we, as supposed Christians, really are? We’re willing to talk about Jesus, share our testimony with other Christians. We don’t inconvenience ourselves enough to do these things with non-believers. (And here’s where it hits me: I am stingy with my time. So why I am wasting my time sharing stories of Jesus with people who already know Him?) (I am not saying not to talk with other Christians, and share Jesus with them- we all need encouragement and reminders… I am saying don’t just share with Christians—we need to get out there and proclaim the gospel for anyone to hear!) Remember Stephen in Acts 7? He was a simple man. (Like most of us) He spread the Gospel to anyone that would listen. And when he was arrested for preaching at the Synagogue, he continued to preach: to those that had less than two months prior crucified Christ. (Tell me he didn’t know he was essentially accepting a death sentence!) He preached about God’s relationship with Israel. He walked them through points from the Old Testament, accusing them of not obeying the laws they were trying to defend. They, once again, were ignoring Who Jesus Christ is. The Old Testament is filled with prophecy and stories that lead up where Stephen was at. (And they continue well past, to Jesus’ return…) Stephen didn’t defend himself for preaching. And because of his teachings, he was stoned to death. And who was one of the witnesses to his death? S(P)aul- a man who is arguably one of the greatest teachers of Christianity in the Bible! So, let’s be reminded that everything we say and do, and experience, is witnessed by someone who could be the pivotal turning point for God. The thing is, when we put ourselves on the back burner, and light our spark for Christ, we become fireproof. Nothing else matters; no one can hurt us; death cannot defeat us. (Amen?!?!) “For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better. But if I live, I can do more fruitful work for Chris. So I really don’t know which is better. I’m torn between two desires: I long to go and be with Christ, which would be far better for me. But for your sakes, it is better that I continue to live” (Paul: Philippians 1:321-24) Can anyone of us say this? Because the selfishness in me, wants to end that speech with the part where dying is best for me. Period. But, until God decides what day that will be, I am ‘stuck’ here, for your sakes. Meaning, while we are here on this earth God created, living this life He gave us… we need to be living for Him. (Not [me])
So coming full circle… am I (are you) more like Stephen accusing the high priest and his court of ‘talking’ too much (and not obeying what they enforce)? Or am I (are you) more like high priest trying to quiet the only person trying to tell Truth?
So instead of fidgeting in my seat at church thinking of all the stuff on my ‘to do’ list, I need to remember the only item that must get done: Live for Christ. And make sure I can check it off as complete.
In order to give your life for Christ, you must first live your life for Christ.