For far too long I believed I could magically cram more into a 24-hour day than any Marvel Super-hero. Multi-indexed planner in hand, I skillfully crafted list after list of things to do, places to go, tasks to conquer.
I quickly realized I was getting nowhere, fast. Despite having a great vocation and a multitude of accomplishments, lousy sleep and crummy eating habits produced feelings of resentment, unrealistic self-expectations and overall anxiety.
“Poor obligated me” became an internal mantra. The thrill of new adventures got lost in the clutter of each new day. Instead of anticipating excitement at tackling whatever came along, even the good stuff became another burden of just “ONE. MORE. THING.”
How easy it is to slip into “busy-ness” of the world. How craftily Satan dulls ambition and creativity as he weaves negativity into our news media, the minutia of work requirements, or through complex family drama.
The culmination of all which distorts our true purpose in life.
God chose each of us – ALL of us - to grow in our relationship with Him and with one another.
As God’s chosen disciples, we are to dispense the amazing grace, hope and joy of the gospel message to a dark and thirsty world. A recent experience illuminates this point.
One hot summer Saturday, while patiently escorting my elderly mom from the car to a dollar store, a timid, 20-something, redhead girl approached. “Might you get me something to drink?” she nervously asked, tipping her head in the store’s direction.
True confession; the former me would have quickly answered “no thanks” while moving past. My day was already over-packed with caregiver responsibilities and urgent errands. Quick to judge, I would have been disinclined to enable a panhandler, drug addict, prostitute, or purse snatcher. How easy it would be to justify NOT adding “One More Thing” to an already busy day. But then, wasn’t that list of stereotypic bad guys precisely the type who Jesus called his “friends?”
Be assured: I am NOT filled with chocolatey-goodness in any way. In fact, NOTHING good lives in me (Romans 7:18); not ONE THING! My sinful flesh is hard-wired to side step engagement when it is not already in my program. And that, dear friends, was the exact problem: thinking that life was “MY PROGRAM. MY self-designed blueprint. Assuredly, it is NOT.
So, that day, something clicked and my calm reaction to a strangers request surprised even me.
“Sure” I replied.
Instantly, the story of Jesus at the well (John 4) and His cup-of-cold-water illustration (Matthew 10) ran through my mind. Attaching mom to a cart, commanding her to “Stay right here,” I paid for a cool drink and headed back to my friend. The girl waited eagerly, glad for refreshment. Handing her the beverage, I hugged her tightly, saying, “May God bless and go with you!”
Here’s the weird part: I FELT BETTER for receiving this one more thing that day; a chance to serve someone in need. Not at ALL because I am a good, obedient girl doing what is right, but because the Lord chose to give ME an opportunity to serve HIM.
You see, “One more thing” can actually be a gentle, spiritual nudge into divine service.
That tiny flash of inspiration was not the least bit initiated by yours truly. The Spirit-installed baptismal pilot-light planted in my soul was supernaturally lit up for action. That light gets ignited at every opportunity to be a witness for Christ. Through Word and sacrament God provides refreshing, godly thoughts (whatever is pure, right, excellent, praiseworthy, lovely, admirable, noble and true) and realigns our program to reflect HIS. We are his own ambassadors, ready, willing and able to fulfill our purpose IN HIM.
What utter joy it is, to experience One more, Heaven-sent, Thing.
"Pass It On"
1969 by Kurt Kaiser
It only takes a spark to get a fire going,
and soon all those around can warm up in its glowing.
That's how it is with God's love once you've experienced it;
you spread his love to everyone;
you want to pass it on.
What a wondrous time is spring when all the trees are budding
The birds begin to sing, the flowers start their blooming
That's how it is with God's love
Once you've experienced it
You want to sing, it's fresh like spring
You want to pass it on.
I wish for you my friend, this happiness that I've found
You can depend on Him, it matters not where you're bound
I'll shout it from the mountain tops
I want the world to know
The love of Christ has come to me
I want to pass it on.