drowning in to-do lists

calendarAh, Fall.

Scarves. Drinking lattes without sweating. Football. Crisp mornings. Caramel apples and pumpkin bread. Never mind that the AC is running as I write this.

But with Fall comes back to school, and back to school opens the floodgates. From August to September, the lazy days of summer transform into jam-packed weeks with something to attend or host every night. I’m sure your calendar tells a similar tale. The hamster wheel is turning, and I’m not sure how to jump off without crashing and burning.

Don’t get me wrong. I like a busy schedule. It fosters discipline and productivity. And let’s face it, as glorious as it is to spend days on end enraptured in a “Gilmore Girls” marathon, there is a great big world outside of Stars Hollow.

But how do I manage my non-stop schedule, tick the items off my to-do list, spend time with those I love, sleep somewhere in between and not shove Jesus to the back burner of my overloaded stove?

On a recent weekend out of town, I caught an online sermon that spoke to my soul.

The Result: Justification, Adoption, Sanctification – Matt Chandler, The Village Church

Here’s the pull we’re noticing in my family. My wife and I have been talking about this lately. In the midst of such busyness (can anyone else in here relate?) the pull we feel as a family is to bolt on or attach Jesus to all that other stuff, as though he is a relationship that must be managed like the other things. The pull we feel, the pull we’re having to fight against, if we’re not careful, is Jesus becomes an add-on, and we begin to approach him like we approach all the rest of it.

We have flag football we have to get to. That’s practice on Wednesday night and games on Saturday morning, and if we’re not careful, Jesus becomes what we’re doing on Sunday morning and our group on Tuesday night, and we begin to kind of package him like we package everything else in our lives, so rather than him being the ruling sovereign of our lives, instead, he’s another thing. The problem with this is that’s not how relationship with God works. He will not be pushed to the margins. He will not be an add-on. He has no ability to do so.

You need to hear me say this. If your version of Christianity is that Christ is an add-on to other things and has not affected the way you live your life, the way you see all things, then you are your own god under the false banner of Christianity. You are your own sovereign while giving lip service to the King of the universe. He cannot be an add-on; he must be the thing by which we see all other things.

“We begin to package [Jesus] like we package everything else in our lives.” Ouch. Talk about cut to the heart.

In Matthew 26, Jesus visits Simon in Bethany, just prior to The Last Supper and his betrayal and arrest. He is at the table with his disciples when a woman pours an alabaster jar of expensive oil on his head. This stuff far surpasses Chanel No. 5 in price. You probably know the story.

Now when Jesus was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, a woman came up to him with an alabaster flask of very expensive ointment, and she poured it on his head as he reclined at table. And when the disciples saw it, they were indignant, saying, “Why this waste? For this could have been sold for a large sum and given to the poor.” But Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why do you trouble the woman? For she has done a beautiful thing to me. For you always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me. In pouring this ointment on my body, she has done it to prepare me for burial. Truly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will also be told in memory of her.”

“The disciples were indignant, saying, ‘Why this waste?'” Oh, those disciples. Oh, how we like to give them a hard time for missing the big picture. But that is so me. I’m missing the big picture.

Look at the woman. Jesus says, “For she has done a beautiful thing to me. For you always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me.”

Jesus is not saying, “Forget the poor.” He saying, “This woman gets it. I’m the most important. Sit in my presence. Remain there. Forget the stuff that crowds me out of your life. Focus on the big picture — me. And enjoy it.”

Jesus, I’m sorry I shove you to the back burner and treat my time with you like another check on the to-do list. Help me to give you the place in my heart you so deserve.

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