Friday, February 16, 2007


About every other week, I have lunch with a few guys, and we discuss a chapter from Patrick Morley's The Man in the Mirror. Today's chapter is about time management and priorities, and Morley makes the point that successful time management requires a system of priorities. This point is illustrated by the Master himself in today's New Testament reading.
Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. Simon and his companions went to look for him, and when they found him, they exclaimed: "Everyone is looking for you!"

Jesus replied, "Let us go somewhere else--to the nearby villages--so I can preach there also. That is why I have come."
Mark 1.35-38
How many ways does my life differ from this anecdote from Jesus's life? He gets up before everyone else and goes to a remote place to pray. Well, I might get up before everyone else, but they always know where to find me.

Apparently Jesus prays for quite a while. I don't often find -- or make -- time for extended periods of prayer. And when his disciples tell him, "Everyone is looking for you," he tells them that they're going somewhere else -- where I'd have a tendency to, you know, build on success or something.

Jesus always knew what his priorities were. He wasn't insensitive, but he wasn't controlled by anyone else's agenda, either. He had one set of priorities -- whereas some of us have two or three. I have a set I tell people if they ask. This varies minute by minute, I'm sorry to say, depending on who's asking, and maybe on what I think they want to hear.

Then there's the set I tell myself. That's the set I know I'm supposed to have. God, then family, then career, etc. Or something like that.

And there's the set I actually live. Which I don't actually know all the time. Sometimes, I look back at what I've done (particularly on a weekend) and I wonder why I did what I did. It might be because I'm living out a vision I got from my parents. Sometimes I avoid doing something for some reason that's not really clear to me. And sometimes I feel like I wasted hours, or a whole day; I don't know what happened to it.

I guess that's when I need to do what Jesus did in the start of the passage: pray and listen. And one other thing that Jesus didn't have to do: confess my foolishness/folly, my perplexity, my helplessness... "that we may receive mercy, and find grace to help in time of need."

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