What are we to do?
For every one thing we do, ten thousand things are left undone. While one pursuit rejoices in our focus, ten thousand pleading voices cry out in anger and anguish for us to drop what we are doing and hurry to them, to reassess our priorities in their favor, for us to give them our care and attention.
There is no end of things that urgently need our attention. I am not just talking about the items on our personal to-do lists. We need to fight injustice, racism, sexism, and all the other -isms. Offer food and shelter to those in need. Do what we can for those afflicted by tidal waves, earthquakes, fires, storms, famines, wars, and epidemics as prices rise and dollars shrink, as our nation polarizes and our polar ice caps melt. Our to-do lists runneth over, but not with blessings.
Jesus told Martha, “You are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing.” What is that one thing? If you believe what is written in Luke 10:38-42, the one thing is to sit at the feet of Jesus and listen to what he is saying. And what did Jesus say? He said to love God and one another. He did not tell us how to get everything done. He did not tell us to be highly effective individuals.
Having too much to do it is a kind of wealth.
Giving up those things to do is hard, as hard as giving up any kind of wealth. In her July 8 editorial in the New York Times, Anne Lamott says, “I have the theological understanding of a bright 8-year-old, but Jesus says we need to approach life like children, not like cranky know-it-alls, crazily busy, clutching our to-do lists. One of my daily prayers is, ‘Slow me down, Girlfriend.’ The prayer changes me. It breaks the toxic trance.”
Let us put aside our too many tasks often. Make Sunday a day of rest. Listen for God’s word. (SsAM offers sixteen prayer services during the week via video.) Let us pray without ceasing — as easy as breathing. Let us sit at the feet of Jesus. Let us NOT put it on our to-do lists.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Danny N. Schweers serves on the Vestry at SsAM and wears other volunteer hats as well, including webmaster for this website. Every week he writes a prayer to go with one of his photos and sends them out to subscribers. Click here to see his Photo Prayer website.