Thursday, October 4, 2012

One At A Time

"Take therefore no thought for the morrow:
for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself.
Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof."
Matthew 6:34

Another point I believe we need to explore
about Jesus and His balanced life on earth is that He paced Himself.
Though He was the flesh...
He handled His humanity in a steady, consistent way.
He did one thing at a time.
He dealt with the issue in front of Him.
The person standing there got His full, undivided attention.
He did not move on to the next need, until the immediate one was met.

He never got into a hurry.

Remember when He was on His way to heal Jairus' daughter?
You can read the account in the 5th chapter of Mark,
beginning with the 22nd verse.
Jairus was an important man.
He was a ruler of the synagogue.
He had clout.
People recognized him and respected him.
He had a young daughter who was very ill.
He came to Jesus as He was in a ship approaching the shore
and fell at His feet, begging Him to come and heal his little daughter.
Jesus immediately went with him.
Nothing was more important to Jesus in that moment.
He was focused...
in-tune with the present need.
As they went,
a throng of people followed them.

Didn't they always?

In that crowd was a woman who had suffered with a bleeding disorder
for a whole twelve years.
She had spent every bit of money she had,
trying to find a cure for her condition.
Instead of getting better, her condition had only grown worse.
She was weak.
Probably anemic.
Tired and weary from her journey.
Who knows how far she had to walk that day?
Can't you just sense her determination...
her desperation...
as she said these words,
"If I may touch but His clothes, I shall be whole"?
How many people tried to shove her aside that day?
How many times did her trembling hand almost reach Him....
only to be intercepted by someone running across her path?
Finally, it happened!
She made contact!
Her hand touched His garment....
not Him....
just His clothes.

But, He knew.
Instantly, He knew.

She did, too.
Verse 29 & 30 says,
"And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up;
and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague.
And Jesus, immediately knowing in Himself that virtue had gone out of Him,
turned Him about in the press, and said,
Who touched my clothes?"

His disciples couldn't believe He asked such a question.
The crowd was huge....
and densely-positioned.
How many people were touching Him non-stop?
They said,
"Thou seest the multitude thronging Thee,
and sayest Thou, Who touched me?"

They found His question incredulous....
hard to figure out.

But there was something different about this touch.
Jesus knew it.

He His tracks...
when He felt the virtue of healing flow out of Him.

 He turned and looked around.
He spotted her!
She was walking towards Him.
She was trembling.
Terrified over what she had just done.
Would He be angry?
After all, He was going to Jairus' house...
to heal his little daughter.
She had interrupted the Master...
from helping someone much more important than her.
Wasn't he?
She fell down before Him, and told Him the truth.
I can just picture her there...
expecting the worst,
fearing a strong rebuke,
shaking uncontrollably.

His reaction?
"Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole;
go in peace, and be whole of thy plague."

Oh, such sweet relief!
He didn't mind her interruption.
He was in no hurry.
No one was more important to Him than her.
He was not angry!
His tone was authoritative,
but so, so gentle.
So soothing.
So kind.

She left His presence a changed woman.
Instantly infused with the blood she so desperately needed.
Strong, healthy, full of energy and vitality....completely restored....
in a moment....
from just one touch.
I can imagine her practically skipping away from Him,
anxious to tell the ones who had watched her suffer.

He dealt with her need...
even though He was on His way to deal with Jairus' need.

When He completed that task,
He continued on to Jairus' home.
By this time,
Jairus' daughter was dead.
Jesus wasn't alarmed.
He was calm...
and in command of the situation.
He said to Jairus,
"Be not afraid, only believe."

There was nothing to worry about.
Time is not an issue with our Lord.
He simply walked on to Jairus' house,
took along the three disciples in His inmost circle,
and He raised the little girl from the dead.

In this age of
and "multi-tasking",
undue pressure is automatically upon us.
We think we have to multi-task in order to cope.
We do so many things at once,
and in the process,
lots of times none of them are done with the amount of precision they deserve.
We can't relax,
because we feel we must be doing not just one thing,
but many things....
all at the same time.

We could learn much from Jesus' example...
of taking life one step...
and one problem...
at a time.
To completely finish the job in front of us,
before moving on to another.
To give each person,
and each duty,
our full, undivided attention.
To pace ourselves....
and realize that each chore,
each obligation,
each person who is dependent upon us...
absolutely deserves our best...
and our most noble effort.

Jesus not only focused on one situation and one duty at a time...
He lived life one day at a time.
He advised us to do the same.
In fact, He told us not to even think of tomorrow....

Each day holds its own challenges.
Today is truly all we have.
Actually, the moment in front of us is all we can be sure of.
We know not when our life will end.
So, why worry?
Why borrow trouble....
that we may never even have to deal with?

Never try to carry tomorrow's burdens with today's grace,
a wise person once said.
We aren't promised tomorrow,
and if by God's mercy,
He allows us to live it,
He will give us what we need when we get there.

Two of the greatest leaders of our country gave these words of wisdom:
"The best thing about the future is that it comes only one day at a time."
Abraham Lincoln

"Worry is the interest paid by those who borrow trouble."
George Washington

Looking beyond this day is truly unnecessary.
Peering past this moment is really unwise.
Jesus said, in essence, that there is enough to deal with now.
The future will take care of itself.

How much stress would be eliminated from our day
if we followed the advice and example of our Lord and Savior?
How much more balanced would our individual lives become?
If we just simply trusted Him fully.
If we always put Him first in our day.
If we did one task at a time,
without looking too far ahead
and becoming overwhelmed by the vastness of the big picture.

During the last several years I worked outside the home before Zachary was born,
I was assistant to the Regional Branch Manager of the northern region of the bank
where Kevin and I were employed.
Dad's health was very poor,
he had been in and out of the hospital several times,
and I made the decision to go part-time so I could spend more time with him and Mom.
When I scaled down to a part-time position,
the demanding, hurried pace of my job didn't change.
My heavy, diverse work load remained exactly as it was.
The same number of demands were in place,
and I was expected to deliver and be as accurate and efficient
as if I were working a 40 hour week.
There was no lowering of the bar to accommodate the fact
that I only worked three days, instead of five.

It is no exaggeration to say that my work load was enormous.

Even though I was part-time,
I was still responsible for compiling and processing a large number of reports for upper management,
creating very complicated employee/branch scheduling for our region's twelve branches,
and dealing with a wide variation of duties, obligations, and problems on a daily basis.
I remember cringing as a fresh pile of inner-office envelopes
would land on my desk twice a day when the courier arrived.
Knowing I had only three days a week to get it all done,
taught me many lessons about time-management
and what it means to pace yourself in a time-efficient way.

One of the things I learned to do every morning at work
was to take all of the envelopes, paperwork, and jobs I needed to do,
and put them in one pile on the top of my desk....
right in front of me so I had to look at it continually.
It kept me focused...and on-track.
It didn't matter how big the pile became,
every, single thing I needed to do ended up on that pile.
I worked through each, individual chore...
one piece at a time.
I didn't dare lift what was on top and peek below it.
Otherwise, I would feel overwhelmed.
I took one duty,
and I saw it through to its completion.
I didn't put it down until it was done.
When it was done,
I dared to go on to the next thing....
then the next.
My goal?
To have my desk completely cleaned off by the end of the day.

Were there interruptions?
Almost continually.
Phone calls,
all manner of requests from employees and upper management,
special needs from my boss that she wanted on her desk five minutes ago,
employee conflicts to try to help solve,
and a host of other things that intercepted my plans.

I didn't have the luxury of dilly-dallying.
I worked with a great bunch of co-workers.
We got along well and enjoyed each other's company.
And though I was often tempted to veer off-course and talk,
I found that I had no choice but to tactfully resist most of the time.
I couldn't do much socializing
or chit-chatting during working hours.
Diligence was imperative.
I simply knew that I did not have time to waste.
My goal was to complete the tasks...
one by one...
until I was done.

God helped me see it task, one day at a time....
pacing myself each step of the way.

I learned by experience that if God gave me another day,
it would all start all over again...
and He would see me through that day, too.

What is on your plate today?
Is it full to capacity...
and then some?
Spilling over the edges?
Is the view of the whole plate overwhelming you?
Break it down into bite-sized pieces.
Then diligently and steadily tackle what is in front of you...
one bite at a time.

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