Relax! Wait, Maybe Not

to do list

Socrates said “Beware the barrenness of a busy life.”

Sometimes, I must confess I fall into the trap of being so busy doing things “for” God that I forget to actually “be with” God! A fatal error! But, we moderns pride ourselves on our “productivity” and “Taking care of business.” We scramble to fill every waking moment with “productive” work and “goals” so we can feel we’ve used our time well. And that’s not a bad thing at all! Where we struggle is in setting the proper priorities so that our energy is channeled in the most spiritually profitable direction.

And it’s here that the internal “war” begins. How to set our priorities so that they actually produce a life well lived and not merely a “busy” life!

Look at our Gospel Lesson today in Matthew 5:14-19:

The Lord said to his disciples, “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid. Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a bushel, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”

The Lord makes it clear that He hasn’t come to destroy the wisdom of the Timeless Law of God, and He warns us against “relaxing” this wisdom to accommodate our desires for an “easy” path. That’s why He reminds the Apostles that they are the “light” of the world. This “light” that he speaks of is the humble commitment to following the wisdom of Christ so clearly that it illuminates the “works” the followers of Christ do and produces in others a desire to thank God!

Notice, the works aren’t there to draw attention to the Apostles. The light isn’t meant to shine of them, but on others so that the others can “see” how to set their priorities well and follow the “Light” shining from the followers of Christ. This “light” makes clear the purpose of the wisdom of God and it isn’t to make celebrities but servants. It isn’t to set our lives on some “automatic pilot” but to draw us to purposeful living by embracing this timeless wisdom every day! And not only that, to call those who practice this wisdom to teach others how to follow this wisdom as well!

Sounds exhausting, doesn’t it?

But don’t forget the missing ingredient that makes the difference! In all our busyness, in all our scrambling around to accomplish this or that goal, we are invited every day to measure our “to do” lists against the timeless wisdom of God in Christ and to allow His life, His priorities, His wisdom to evaluate our choices, our “to do” list. Along with the added truth that God loves us and He is not some distant “scorekeeper” tracking your good deeds and bad deeds, but a loving Father Who provides His strength, His grace, His love to the all but impossible task of being the “light” of the world. He comes to us in our daily prayers, our purposeful practice, and in our constant submission to a life of generosity, and adds His strength to our weakness so that all our accomplishments cause others to glorify God and not us!

Today, are you tempted to be so busy so that the nagging fear of time ticking away is ignored? Perhaps it’s time to turn and learn the path of wisdom, the path of repentance, that will set you free to be busy about eternal things and not merely things that are here today and gone tomorrow. Perhaps it’s time to be what you were created to be in the first place: The “Light” of the world!

P.S. We are so thankful for notes like this: “May God continue to bless this project. Father Barnabas, you are a role model, and I pray that God may bless you and reward you for all your dedication and hard work.” And yet, we are thankful for you who make this work valuable. In this month of November, we want to hear from you. Please write us at email hidden; JavaScript is required.

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