Mary and I sat our three little ones down when they got school age and said, Now look, kids, you outnumber your momma and me. We are not going to have a family waving at each other as we each pass the other shuttling you to various practices, concerts, games, leagues, and banquets. We wanted the kids to be involved in all they could only with the limitations of what was good for them emotionally. Other than church and school-as-usual, they could each elect one extra-curricular venture at a time. Wendy could not be in girl scouts and gymnastics at the same time. If not careful, parents will over extend their own children as the kids don't know how to say no to so many fun opportunities.
I find little changes for adults live in the same over-extended culture. Finances surely bear such stark statistical brunt. And, some adult schedules are nearly on the brink of insanity. On my desk at this moment are the following:
- An invitation to a pastoral lunch Thursday.
- A note from a group wanting me to look at a segment of work in India.
- A request for attention and assistance from a global missions effort in New Mexico.
- A video to be watched regarding disaster relief.
- A letter from Florida requesting funds for a campus minister trainee.
- A letter from Tennessee requesting funds for Russian and Chinese ministries.
- A DVD to review regarding the Cambodian church.
- Numerous phone calls to return; as well as emails awaiting response.
The number of requests which hit file 13 far outnumber the above list. Note little of the above is in the zone of my local work....which is awaiting. I'm delighted...really....to know of God working in so many areas. He surely has a lot going! I can't possibly satisfy such calling works. And, I won't. God will get it done and some of it will have my participation. But, not nearly all.
Therefore, I write to encourage you to keep your ministry and your life simple. Just as children don't have the ability to join every gym class, volleyball team, choir at school as well as at church, youth group, girl scouts, boy scouts, etc., adults can't hold up under similar pressure. It could cause massive cave-in. A special word to parents......your children are needing your focus. Be wise regarding your extra-curricular for now. Soon the kids will be gone. They need you today.
Do a few things well. Don't try to do several things mediocrely. Do a few things well. Don't live pressured by those who feel you should be supportive of "their" particular interests. The body of Christ is designed to work as a healthy body. Yes, their are the lazy and shiftless ones. But, I address them not. I'm speaking to hard workers who have a conscientious drive to see that much good gets done on their watch. It will take concentrated discipline to avail yourself wisely to the work of a mighty God.
In the scheme of things you are a tiny little shell on a big planet. So what shall we do? Learn to let your "Yes" be "Yes" and your "No" be "No". Don't say yes to an opportunity when your spirit is coaxing for a "No". God's body (all of His many joints and ligaments) will serve the world effectively. Use what He has given you to participate in such a thrill without losing sight that you are a small part of a big work! Romans 9:16, once again, comes into play. It is not up to man who wills, nor man who runs, but up to God who has mercy. Ministering leaves the driving up to God, the saving up to God, the effectiveness up to God.
Serve well, but don't overextend in the name of commitment. Such may not be commitment but simply a character flaw of failing to be committed to Him instead of our own popularity in the eyes of men as to how involved in the church we are.