Episode 1. Excuses, Excuses, Excuses
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There’s a big difference often, between urgent tasks, and important ones. And all too often, we allow the urgent ones to crowd out the important ones. It happens to all of us. Join Berni Dymet – …
If you’ve ever decided to put your trust in Jesus for your forgiveness, for the free gift of eternal life, then you’ll know the joy that that brings. But, all too many people take the first step … and that’s it. That’s where they stop. And then … then they wonder why their new life in Christ is going nowhere.
There’s a big difference often between urgent tasks and important ones. All too often we allow the urgent tasks to crowd out the important ones, it happens to all of us.
I have to tell you I have more urgent things crowding in on me everyday than I’d like to think about. You may have been joining me here on the program for a while and you think to yourself, “you know that guy on the radio, he has a good life, he just has to sit down for ten minutes every day and chat with me and that’s pretty much it.”
Huh, I wish but let me tell you there are more radio messages to be prepared and to be written. I do over five hundred of them every year, more booklets to be written, more TV programs to be shot, I do around eighty of those every year and then there’s the ministry to run, lots of travel, detailed minutia in running the office, managing the ministry team in four countries and on and on it goes.
I was sitting at my desk in the office the other day and one person asked me this so I went to help them and as soon as I was finished another one asked me that then the next one and the next one. Before I knew it an hour and a half had gone by, all apparently urgent things and of course they were.
But it’s just so easy to end up running around doing things for other people, answering emails, doing this and that and the other thing and before you know it the day has gone, the week’s gone, oops it’s the first of the month again and so life just slips by, days, weeks, months, years, decades slip by.
A few months ago I watched a great German Christmas advertisement. It was about an old man who couldn’t seem to get his family to come and spend Christmas with him because they were all too busy doing all the urgent things they had to do in their jobs and with their children. So he sent out a death notice and they all came over and there he was, Christmas table set and he said to them ‘how else was I going to get you all together?’ The closing caption to the ad was ‘It’s time to come home.’
Spending time with elderly parents is important. Giving your family the best of your time, it’s really important and living your life for Jesus, day after day every day is really important. But as you and I both know there are so many urgent things that crowd out our time and so we feel guilty about not giving our family time, our children time, our elderly parent’s time.
We feel guilty about the fact that we don’t make the time to pray, that we don’t seem to have time to open that Bible that’s gathering dust somewhere in the cupboard that we don’t have time to, well to do the important things.
A busy young man, a wealthy young man once confronted Jesus about his priorities. He asked Jesus ‘what do I have to do to get eternal life?’ What’s the most important thing to do? Let’s see how the exchange unfolds, it’s quite illuminating when we think of our own situation. Matthew chapter 19 verses 16 to 26.
Then someone came to Him and said, ‘teacher what good deed must I do to have eternal life?’ And Jesus said to him, ‘why do ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you wish to enter into life keep the Commandments’. He said to Him, ‘which ones?’ And Jesus said, ‘you shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not bear false witness, honour your father and mother also, you shall love your neighbour as yourself.
And the young man said to him, ‘I have kept all of these, what do I still lack?’ Jesus said to him, ‘if you wish to be perfect go, sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven, then come and follow me.’ When the young man heard this word he went away grieving for he had many possessions.
Then Jesus said to His disciples ‘truly I tell you it will be hard for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the Kingdom of God.’ When the disciples heard this they were greatly astounded and then said, ‘then who can be saved?’ But Jesus looked at them and said, ‘for mortals it is impossible but for God all things are possible.
Now you might be wondering to yourself, “how does this story apply to me?” Well the rich young ruler was a busy guy and he’s checking in with Jesus to make sure that he has his priority’s right in the middle of all that busyness ’cause he knows something’s not quite right.
Don’t murder – check, don’t commit adultery – check, don’t steal – check, don’t bear false witness – check. He was okay in each department but still he knew that something wasn’t quite right. Like you, like me. We know when things aren’t quite right. All the budyness in the world can’t wallpaper over the deep feeling inside that something’s missing.
And then Jesus puts His finger right on it, the young man’s wealth. “Give it all away” says Jesus, “then you’ll be fine” and with that one thing the rich young ruler knows that’s my problem, that one thing. He’s making his wealth more important than loving God, than following Jesus and he goes away grieving for he had many possessions.
What’s that one thing in your life that’s keeping you from doing the most important thing? And of course Jesus left out the most important thing in all of that, that you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul and strength and mind. This is the first and greatest Commandment. And the second one is just like it, you should love your neighbour as yourself. On these two Commandments hang the whole law and all the prophets.
You and I are just so good, so good at coming up with excuses. I’m too busy, you don’t realise how hard it is for me, there’s this and there’s that and there’s the other thing and before you know it life has slipped away. The time is short people, seriously short. The days fly by so quickly and so how we spend our time comes down to our priorities.
Have you found yourself making excuses? Well I don’t have time to visit my ageing mother, I’m too tired by the time I get to the weekend, I don’t have time to read my Bible, to go and visit that sick friend, to use my gifts and abilities and resources for God. Excuses, excuses, excuses.
So you’re too busy are you? Let me tell you it happens to all of us at some point. If I spend all of my time racing around after other people at work here at the ministry of Christianityworks I’d never find the time to sit down and prepare these messages. And when you think about it in our ministry this one thing is pretty much the most important thing, without me doing that there is no ministry, there is no impact in people’s lives, it just ain’t going to happen.
So with the million and one things I have going on at work and at home I’ve decided that after spending my time with the Lord each morning, this one thing, preparing these messages, is the most important thing in the ministry. There are days and there are weeks where frankly I lose sight of that because of all the other things going on but pretty much each week, as I plan my week, I diarise the chunks of time that I need to prepare these messages, I block out that time and it has to be something really big to get me to move it.
It’s normally really early in the morning. I mean I was up at 3.15 in the morning when I prepared today’s message, a time where the phone doesn’t ring, a time where people don’t interrupt me. First of course I spend some time praying and reading God’s Word for myself, then it was straight into this one thing.
The bottom line for me and I suspect for you is that unless we decide our priorities, unless we deliberately set aside time to make the important things happen then those important things, I mean the really important things in our lives simply aren’t going to get done EVER. Because there will always be something else, there will always be something that pretends to be far more urgent to crowd out the important things.
I am sure that Jesus had a lot of things to do, He had twelve disciples whom he was ministering to, He had crowds to speak to, He had all those things to do yet He still found time to slip away early in the morning and spend time with His Father in heaven. So let me ask you, what are your important things, what are the important things in your life that just aren’t getting done?