Have you ever looked at your schedule and thought “Wow, how am I ever going to finish all this?” Yea, me too!
I sometimes wonder about all our “busyness.” Is mere abundance of activity really necessary, or are we doing so much to “hide” from something? Just looking at my own children’s schedule of dance practice, play dates, and social engagements makes me want to run and hide from all the deadlines, appointments, and “obligations.”
Then my next question to myself is “Is all this activity really accomplishing anything of value?” That’s when I am so tempted to run and hide!
The key to all this “work” and activity in our lives is a regular “check up” on motives and vision and direction. Are the priorities of my actions properly determined to achieve my true goals in life? Do I even know what those life goals are?
In our Gospel Lesson today our Lord Jesus chooses 12 men to be His disciples. In His instructions to His disciples about their own purpose and direction for their lives He reveals the steps we are to take to keep our own priorities and vision for our lives in the proper order for maximum focus and clear direction. Instead of groping in the “darkness” of our fears and anxieties, we can clearly see which steps to take to become who we really are.
Look at Matthew 9:36-38; 10:1-8. Here the Lord reveals His priorities and how we can do the same.
At that time, when Jesus saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”
And he called to him his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every infirmity. The names of the twelve apostles are these: first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaios, and Thaddaios; Simon the Cananaean, and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him. These twelve Jesus sent out, charging them, “Go nowhere among the Gentiles, and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And preach as you go, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without paying, give without pay.”
Our first, necessary characteristic if we are ever going to see beyond our own “busyness” is compassion; that ability to see beyond ourselves and our own feelings and desires to consider others and their needs. A constant inward focus makes me blind to the ordering of my priorities based on love rather than selfish desires.
Next, the Lord’s compassion allowed Him to see others as they really are and not just from the standpoint of how they make “me” feel. No wonder those around me act as they do. They are “harassed and helpless, like a sheep without a shepherd.” It is amazing that, when I act from compassion instead of expectations of others; instead of judging others and their actions on how they make “me” feel; I am liberated to forget about myself and see clearly what drives and motivates those around me. No wonder the old saying is “Walk a mile in my shoes” then you’ll understand why I act as I do.
Finally, this insight and compassion motivates action. The Lord tells His disciples that “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” (Matthew 9:37-38) There are so many around us today who are so very ready for actions motivated by compassion and understanding; so much to be done; such a “plentiful” harvest of people longing to be transformed by love and truth, that this realization alone should drive us to not only get to work, but to petition the Lord for more workers to get this “harvest” in before the “crop” dies in the field.
Today, do you have the spiritual maturity to govern and access your priorities and your busy schedule? Are you accomplishing eternally valuable goals or merely investing in things and actions that are here today and gone tomorrow? Are you using this precious and ever dwindling gift of time to become who you really are? Stop, today, and look at your priorities, your schedule, your investments of time and treasure, and allow the insights of Compassion, Reality, and Action to shape your choices and your behavior. Allow the faith you say you believe to actually shape your life. When you do, you’ll be Orthodox on Purpose!
P.S. What can I say? I know – THANK YOU! We at Faith Encouraged Ministries are so excited about our Orthodoxy 101 Video Project and when we shared it with you, you responded in such a generous way. We needed $5000 to get the demo shot and now we have it! We will shoot the demo on July 10th and then expect to hear and SEE much more about this project. Keep up with all the news of this project at www.faithencouraged.org and click the Orthodoxy 101 tab! Thank you and thank God for His faithfulness!