Choosing what is better

December 13, 2007 — Leave a comment

prioritiesHow are you doing? 

It’s a question asked often during the course of a typical day, yet it has become much more of a cliche as the pace of our lives has picked up speed.

“How are you doing?” was once an honest attempt to engage people. . . to connect with them in a meaningful way. Now it’s little more than a greeting chosen from a standing mental list of six or seven. “Hi”. . . “hello”. . . “good morning”. . . “how ya doin’?” (if you’re from the South like me) or “howdy” (as my Aggie friends prefer).

This time of year, it’s easy to rush through life and not take time to even ask the question — let alone stick around for the answer. If you ask it right, you’ll hopefully get more than a standard “fine, thanks” in response.

Today I’m asking you this question regarding your priorities during these days leading up to Christmas. With all the things that are going on in our lives, we have to be intentional about keeping the focus on people. It’s about relationships! And the Christmas season provides the perfect opportunity to focus on that.

I’m reminded of the biblical account of Jesus’ visit with two sisters, Mary and Martha, in Luke 10. As the story goes, Mary sat at the feet of Jesus listening to what he said. Martha, however, was busy taking care of all the details. (I imagine her cooking and cleaning in a frenzied fashion because an important guest stopped in.) And Martha was quite frustrated that Mary wouldn’t help her. When Martha asked for Jesus to tell Mary to pitch in, Jesus actually commended Mary for having the right priorities. He said, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

If your Christmas to-do list is anything like mine, you will have no trouble at all keeping busy over the next week or so. As you think through that list, let me ask you this: In spite of all that remains to be done, are you keeping your focus on the main thing? Or are you falling into a trap of perfectionism, falsely believing that just one more detail will make or break your holiday celebration?

Don’t get me wrong. I know that details are necessary and even important at times. We just have to be careful to not let the details become the main thing. As I used to tell my customers, “It is better — and more practical — to buy a tie to go with a suit than the other way around.” 

So, let me ask you again: How are you doing?

Tonight when you finally flip off the light and sink into bed, don’t let any obsessive thoughts keep you from getting the rest you need. Instead, offer a prayer of thanksgiving for the people in your life that make it worth living. Choose what is better, and it will not be taken away from you.

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