The Important Things


Tuesday came, and I’d accomplished so little the day before, I wondered how I’d get anything done in the week. I’m one of those folks who struggle with feeling good about himself unless he’s accomplishing, doing, making progress on one task or another. I’ve been reminded that my worth isn’t wrapped up in what I do but who I am in God’s eyes.

Yeah, good thought. Right on. Meanwhile, what else is on my list? Anyway, with that attitude, I felt negative. Monday had started the week off as a zero on my progress report. And here it was Tuesday and the undone things were rolling in on me like a coastal fog.

I started to launch myself up the stairs to get on the computer when I remembered that the days I don’t begin with the Lord are, well, generally disconnected from what matters.

But I don’t have time. I can use that devotional time for something more productive. Pretty bad attitude. I turned and re-traced my steps back down the stairs. One thought kept me on track: having an attitude of thankfulness keeps a person from being critical, defeated, and even from depression. Well, I didn’t feel thankful for much of anything. My knee hurt; my energy level felt low; what difference would it make if I got anything done or not?

I sat in the recliner and reluctantly picked up my Bible. A full sheet of blank paper dropped out as I flipped the pages to Matthew. A thought persisted: look outward.

English: Peresopnytsia Gospels. 1556-1561. Min...

English: Peresopnytsia Gospels. 1556-1561. Miniature of Saint Matthew. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I wrote a header, “What I can do this day.” Beneath it, I started a list—quickly, before I chickened out:

  • What I could say to my wife to build her up, encourage her; things I could do that would strengthen her for her day.
  • Specific prayers for each of our adult children; prayer for our pastor, who was facing a daunting week; prayer for those in authority over me. Yes, all of them.
  • Live in the hope and expectation of Christ’s return. I hardly ever do that, yet I’m exhorted to do that all the time.
  • Prayer for my brothers, that they would effectively oversee/encourage/counsel their children and grandchildren, who might be utterly lost if Dick or Jerry were taken out of their lives.
  • I included other “things I can do this day” that might positively affect other people, most of who I didn’t know because I hadn’t met them—yet … That I would hold the day special as a gift from God … Do the tasks required of me with a grace I seldom feel … That I would plan—one of the hardest things for me—as it seems to obligate me to accomplish certain things, rather than flying by the seat of my pants … Try to have a positive attitude toward the people who operate in a different universe (or so it seems) … I asked for humility. The Lord brought that blessing to me twice, before I’d finished half my errands. No, I don’t want to talk about it.

I need to tell you that I didn’t do all, or even most, of the things on that “What I can do this day” list. Far from it. But I felt directed, purposeful, involved in what mattered. I got some of those things done (I’m afraid God plans to keep working on that humility bit.). But I felt he was re-directing me to the important things. The people. The prayers. The time … with him.

The Master said, “Martha, dear Martha, you’re fussing far too much and getting yourself worked up over nothing. One thing only is essential, and Mary has chosen it—it’s the main course, and won’t be taken from her.” Luke 10:41-42 (The Message)

How’s your to-do list going?

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About samuelehall

A follower of Jesus, husband, father of 3 adult children, writer and learner.
This entry was posted in Finding me ... and you, Finding Truth, The Reality of God and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to The Important Things

  1. Doris Minard says:

    You put this so well, Sam. As a fellow list-maker, (I have a list of my lists!), I can relate. I LOVE to cross things off. But, those first moments of the morning help us remember God’s presence is with us all day. Thanks for the gentle reminder. It’s a lesson I keep needing to learn.
    Doris

    • samuelehall says:

      Thanks, Doris. Whatever we use, most of us need something to prompt us to be diligent in our daily devotions. My wife likes the very popular Jesus Calling devotional.
      Like you, I’ve learned that I must put my time with the Lord first in my day; otherwise, it will be forgotten or shoved aside.

  2. juliafaddissteuart says:

    I am constantly battling the same scenario Sam!! I love how you wrote these thoughts down!”! Thank you for sharing your struggles!!! God bless you, julia

  3. Thanks for this, Sam. I needed to read it today.

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