Dear pastors, missionaries, chaplains and friends,
Steve Jones here… It’s summer. The days are longer, sunny, and warm. My backyard hammock is calling out my name to spend quality time together.
Please take some time this summer to get some rest and refreshment. One motto I have always remembered was Rick Warren’s advice to “Divert daily, withdraw weekly, abandon annually”.
Why do we get overloaded? Why do we allow our bodies, emotions, schedules, budgets to all get overloaded? The simple answer is that we’re trying to do too much. We get to choose everyday whether we want balance or burn-out.
The Psalmist tells us:
· “Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be…” Psalm 39:4 (NLT)
· “Teach us to make the most of our time…” Psalm 90:12 (NLT)
We do a quick read and miss the point. We think we have so little time and so much to get done and we become overwhelmed. The lesson David is praying is to learn to FOCUS on the most important things and use our time wisely.
The following are five things to F.O.C.U.S. on if we’re ever going to maintain balance. How/what to focus on:
1. Focus on Love:
· 1 Cor. 14:1 (NLT) says it: “Let love be your greatest goal.”
· 1 Cor. 13:3 (NLT) says it: “No matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.”
Everything else is secondary. God doesn’t say my relationships are an important part of my life. God says your loving-relationships are your life. Love is what life is all about.
So why do relationships get the short end of the stick in your life? When we get overloaded with tasks and “to do lists” and achievement — when we get overloaded, relationships tend to get ignored.
Insight #1: Spend more time than you normally do with family and friends this summer.
2. Organize my time:
How do you spell love? I spell it “TIME”.
· 1 John 3:18 (GN) says it: “We must show love through actions that are sincere, not through empty words. If you say you love but you’re not showing any time, you’re just kidding yourself.”
“Time” is my focused attention given to someone I care about. It is a wonderful gift that we get to give daily… or not. You can always get more money, but you can’t get more time. It’s a finite commodity that needs to be stewarded well. When we give someone our time, we’re giving something that we’ll never get back… it’s precious.
Insight #2: The best use of your life is LOVE and the best expression of your love is giving away your TIME.
3. Contribute to others:
How do you use your TIME? For you, or others?
· Ephesians 2:10 (NLT) says it: “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so that we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.”
We were created by God to help and support each other. Serving others is the whole point of life. Our lives are out of balance when we consistently serve self… burn-out is inevitable.
When we’re so busy with no margin in life, we miss out on those moments to help others. We quickly drive past the car with a flat tire because we’re on our way to a scheduled meeting.
Insight #3: Stop and help a neighbour or stranger in need this summer… do it at least once a month and see what happens.
4. Understand why we overwork:
Why do you do what you do? Because you’re an honest hard-working person? Or something else?
Often there is something underneath that causes us to work out of balance. Maybe it’s fear, or to secure and control your future. Maybe it’s to earn someone’s love or approval, or both? So people will accept me, include me, like me, love me. Maybe you enjoy the comforts and pleasures of life and you work harder to accommodate our consumer lifestyle.
James actually has something to say about that in James 4:1-3.
If our net-worth goes up, then our self-worth will also increase. My work never increases my worth.
If we don’t understand this one and finally settle it… we will continue to overwork to satisfy something that hard work can never satisfy.
Insight #4: Get on that hammock often and read a book this summer. Better yet, share your hammock and cuddle your spouse, child, grandchild, or dog, “Rover”.
5. Show your love:
If the greatest use of your life is to love and the greatest expression of your love is time…
Insight #5: Then the greatest time to love is NOW!
“Do not withhold good from those who deserve it, when it’s in your power to help them. If you can help your neighbour NOW, don’t say “Come back tomorrow, and then I’ll help you’.” Proverbs 3:27-28 (NLT)
Why NOW? Because stuff happens. Circumstances change. Children grow up. People die. Tomorrow gives no guarantee. Shoe your love… NOW!
Five things to F.O.C.U.S. on if we’re ever going to maintain balance; let’s start together this summer… I’m preaching to myself!
Have a blessed week,
Our 2015 Fellowship theme verse is:
“"For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” Luke 19:10 (NLT)