Be Still and know that I am God: Psalm 46:10

There’s no way round it. I am busy. Too busy. My diary and my schedule are full to bursting point.

I grew up in the Methodist Church. Part of the liturgy of the Church is (or used to be) something called the General Confession. In it, we confessed before God that we had ‘left undone those things which we ought to have done’. Now by nature I’m a busy person. I don’t often sit around doing nothing. But to be honest, like many of you, I’m busier than I should be. 

Some time ago I created a spreadsheet which itemises my outstanding tasks, and tells me roughly how long each task should take. When the outstanding tasks are added together, I have in the region of 6.8 weeks of outstanding work. It feels like I’m running on a treadmill and it’s turning very fast.

I’m actually rather pleased with my spreadsheet. It produces pie charts showing a breakdown of my activity and itemising the outstanding tasks. It identifies my priorities. It tells me how many hours of work I have done and how I spent them. It tells me how many hours of work are outstanding. To be honest, the story is not encouraging. Masses has been achieved, but many, many outstanding time consuming things to do. 

But here’s the thing. That spreadsheet only relates to my work as Executive Director of Family Foundations Trust. It takes no account of my personal ministry (oh yes.. I do have my own ministry activities), which includes running youth discipleship courses, running my housegroup, worship leading, preaching and teaching at Churches, running mens groups and prayer breakfasts and even occasionally speaking in prisons. It doesn’t mention anything about my working with several other charities and lots more (including, I suppose, writing this blog!).

My spreadsheet doesn’t mention the unwritten emails, letters and unspent hours with friends who I value deeply. It doesn’t mention the yet to be made phonecalls I really ought to make to keep in touch with family and friends. It doesn’t mention my regular 200 mile round trip visits to my sick mother, spending time with a friend whose marriage is falling apart, or another who is in need of encouragement, or taking time to visit someone who is struggling with bereavement.

It doesn’t mention the time I need to spend with my wonderful wife, or the quiet times and personal prayer times, or moments when I just need to be outside and go for a walk just to keep myself sane. 

Many of those things have been done. But lots haven’t. Oh dear. I confess there are many things which I have left undone. 

Sometimes, it feels as if I’m carrying a huge pile of stuff. It’s like I’ve got so much stuff to carry that I’m struggling to stand up, let alone move forwards. Inevitably, I feel as if I have left undone things which I ought to have done. And some of them feel like important things.

Important things left undone disappoint me. I’m sure that one or two of them disappoint God. But on the whole, I think that to Him, most of my ‘important’ tasks look rather insignificant. I think that if he were to look through my work schedule, or my as yet unwritten ‘non-work’ schedule, he might say to me  saying to me ‘Why are you even trying to do all these things?’. I might hear the still, small voice of my Creator saying ‘does it really matter that you didn’t do this or didn’t do that.’

It’s a bit like the parent who finds a child carrying something which is much too large, too heavy, or which simply didn’t need to be moved in the first place. The Fathers voice gently says ‘Why don’t you let me help you put all that down for a minute’.

 It’s as if he’s saying ‘Just stop. Just put all that down for a minute. Spend this moment with me.’

‘Be still. And know that I am God.’

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