As I write this, it is almost 5AM and I’ve been up since 3:45AM. It’s called jet lag. I’m wide awake, made more permanent by the nice black tea I bought while in Sweden (seven time zones away), and might as well start my day while my brain and body make the adjustments. My “to-go” list is as follows:
- Bug spray
- Rake the grass
- Fix the carrier
- Thank you note to ____
And I won’t bother to write the rest. (I did get the yard mowed yesterday, as it was looking more in need of brush-hogging after being gone for two weeks.)
I’m quite a project person; I feel more like I’ve earned my sit-down when I’ve had a productive day, which usually means check marks, mental or literal, on my list of things to accomplish. I have this deep seated need to feel useful. The thought of futility is scary to me, and retirement comes with that very challenge I’m realizing.
The more accurate yet hidden challenge, however, is using my lists to convince myself of my true productivity. Keeping busy to make check marks isn’t necessarily the same as being useful. What’s the lasting impact of what I’m doing?
Okay, yeah, Bob and I need clean clothes and food to eat. To be a good neighbor, I have to keep my yard orderly. I get all that. But surely there is more to my life than going off a list. I wonder if that’s what King David had in mind when he penned this:
“LORD, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered—how fleeting my life is…We are merely moving shadows, and all our busy rushing ends in nothing. We heap up wealth, not knowing who will spend it. And so, Lord, where do I put my hope? My only hope is in you.”
Hope for what? Hope that what I’m doing is more important than just for today. That what I do has eternal consequences. That my “to-do” list is merely a springboard for holy interactions and interventions of which I’m not even privy to at the time.
Including cleaning the yard, changing a tire (or a diaper), giving a word of encouragement or a note of appreciation. Motive is the key:
“…Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.”
Because His check marks are the ones that count.
(BTW, taking a nap is on my list today.)
Psalm 39:46,7; 1 Corinthians 15:58 Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.