November 26, 2011

Weakness and To-do Lists

Even as a busy person, some things I dread or don’t want to do. I put them off. I find reasons to do something else, usually something easier. Such procrastination is problem enough, but there is another habit that plagues me. I have many ideas and am always thinking. My to-do list could choke a horse, but there are important tasks that are replaced by what some people call “busy work.” I call them time-wasters.
Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might, for there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in (the grave), to which you are going. (Ecclesiastes 9:10)
Verses like this are not difficult to understand. What bothers me about this one is that I’ve not always followed through on all the things that my hands have found to do. They might make it to the to-do list, but my hands get busy with less vital matters, pushing them to the bottom.

Today, Spurgeon tells me not to wait for large opportunities, or for a different kind of work, but do just the things I “find to do” day by day. Instead of making excuses about needing a big block of time for this, or for better skills to do that, I need to realize that there is no other time in which to live. The past is gone and the future has not arrived. There is no time but the present. I cannot wait until my experience, or confidence, or knowledge increases before I do this or that for the Lord. Time will never increase either. Instead, I’m to go for it now, doing what God puts on my heart and into my hands now. And in obedience, I am to serve Him with all my might.

Prompt obedience is a special thing. We love it in our children and hope for it those who serve us. We want the café meal to arrive as soon as it is cooked, the car repaired as quickly as the mechanic can get at it. Not only that, we want that cook and that mechanic to do their very best work.

In the same way, God wants me to serve Him now, in whatever He asks of me, as soon as He asks it, and that I do it with all my might.

Lately I’ve been pondering the many seasons where it seems I’ve frittered away the hours and days with good intentions and great plans that never materialized. Perhaps these regrets are a “disease” of growing older. Perhaps it is a scheme of Satan to ruin my focus for right now. However, I know that spending today thinking of what I intend to do tomorrow is no recompense for idleness at any time.

No one can serve God by doing things tomorrow or next week or next year. I am to live in the now, honoring Him by what I do today and by throwing my entire heart, and soul, and strength into it. Yet there is another problem that comes up, again perhaps a problem of growing older, yet still an issue in doing anything with all my might; my might isn’t what it used to be.

I know that this is not a bad thing. No matter my age or perceived strength, God offers this verse: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” with Paul’s response, “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)

Regardless of the “my might” used in Ecclesiastes, all Christians know that whatever we do for Christ must be done in His strength. This was true when I had lots of energy and it is true now when I have less of this precious commodity.

Yet for His power to be perfected in my weakness, I must recognize and actually feel my own weakness and inability. That means that whatever my hand finds to do will always be totally intimidating!

Oh, I could avoid that by trying to walk in the flesh with its boasting self-confidence, but there would be no spiritual fruit from my labors and no eternal “well done” either.

God is clear. Any sense of being unable is never intended to push me into excuses, procrastination, and idleness. Instead, this sense of “I can’t” or any other excuse must serve as motivation to wait upon the Lord and rely on His grace and strength. Only then will “whatever my hand finds to do” be well done and not a wasted effort.

Lord, my dear Granny’s line comes to mind, “Too old too soon, too late smart.” I’m thankful for Your sovereign grace and thankful that You will give me time to do whatever You put into my hands. Help me to forge ahead, trusting You, instead of letting any weakness or other excuses keep me from obeying You.

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