This world is crazy. It will eat you up. Things are going faster, and faster, and faster. That’s what we have now in this highly computerized age. And it’s easy to get caught up in this pace and miss everything, especially God’s calling. Yesterday we talked about being rebels, about living differently than the world’s standards. Part of doing that is realizing something about time: it’s not ours to define. A mentor of mine wrote this to me recently, “For instance ‘my schedule’ no longer holds much meaning. I don’t own any time (I checked). I’m given time.”
When I got that email, I was under siege. I was trying to juggle work, ministry, family, and professional commitments. There just wasn’t enough time to do it all. And as I felt my stress levels rise, I received the email. I read it. I read those words. And suddenly all that stress disappeared. I was looking at things the wrong way. I was trying to fit everything in to my schedule. Only I don’t have a schedule. My friend reminded me quite nicely that I was looking at the events and not at God. And that was my first, and most critical mistake.
I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that often I have planned to come to you (and have been prevented so far) so that I may obtain some fruit among you also, even as among the rest of the Gentiles. I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish. So, for my part, I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome. – Romans 1:13-15, NASB
But I will come to you after I go through Macedonia, for I am going through Macedonia; and perhaps I will stay with you, or even spend the winter, so that you may send me on my way wherever I may go. For I do not wish to see you now just in passing; for I hope to remain with you for some time, if the Lord permits. – 1 Corinthians 16:5-7, NASB
Paul wrote several times about how his plans weren’t his own. Here are two examples from Scripture. The first is to the believers in Rome. He had planned to make it to Rome, but at the time of the writing of this epistle, God had other things for Paul to do. So he hadn’t made it to Rome yet. And in the first epistle to the church in Corinth, we see that Paul was relying on the Lord’s time table, not his own. He understood that he didn’t have a schedule. Rather, he was beholden to God as to where he was to go, what he was to do, and when he was to do it. This should be our attitude, too.
One of the ways our Enemy can trip us up very easily is to get us busy. He can get us so busy that we’re no longer seeing with Jesus’ eyes, listening with Jesus’ ears, and feeling with Jesus’ heart. Rather, we’re too caught up trying to handle all of the events that we have on our calendar. We lose sight of what’s really important. We miss the opportunities God has put before us. And we look exactly like everyone else in this rushed and hurried world. By the way, a lot of the time the Enemy doesn’t have to lift a finger. We do a great job of getting ourselves too busy. But we don’t have to live this way. We aren’t made to live this way. We aren’t made for this craziness. We’re made to listen to God. We’re designed to check in with Him. And when we do that, our life hits a different pace. Everything slows down. We take things in the proper order. Things that aren’t important get shifted to the side.
Here’s a thought: how many things have we tackled, thinking they were of some importance, only later to find out they really weren’t necessary or important at all? God sees everything with perfect clarity. He sees those things that must be done now. He sees those things that can wait a bit. And He sees those things that can be set aside completely. He sees all of these things when we can’t. So if we’re relying on Him for the schedule, a schedule set with His vision, our life isn’t so frantic and crazy and insane. And that’s the way He intended it from the start.