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EDITORIAL: Scheduling things that matter

How many Christmas parties did you attend this year?
The wife of one of our employees attended three such galas, hosted by various departments at her work. She and her husband had a dickens of a time (pardon the seasonal pun) scheduling a holiday party for their Bible study group. Other parties kept getting in the way.
Now, as we pack away the tinsel and holly, we realize that, quite frankly, we’re exhausted.
And the new year isn’t likely to grant us much rest. As we rush into a new year packed with goals, meetings and expectations, we must find a moment to pause and refocus. It is critical also to take time to be truly introspective and grateful for our blessings, even as we continually strive to do better.
It is too easy to fill our schedules with the activities life seems to require of us — even church-related activities — only to look up from our planners or mobile devices and realize another year has passed. Let’s purposely schedule time alone with God, meditating on his word as we make plans for 2013.
As parents, its great to give our children the opportunities to interact with peers and get exercise. But all the dance classes and soccer practices in the world can’t replace time spent studying the Bible or serving others as a family.
The recent tragedy in Connecticut shows us clearly the importance of time with our children. They need us more than they need things.
Even simple events — making dinner together, playing board games — give us opportunities to live out our faith alongside our children.
We acknowledge that the work of the church is vital. But all of the committee meetings and small-group Bible studies in the world can’t replace the simple acts of kindness shown to those who never knew our God.
Schedule time to do good deeds for others — whether it’s shoveling snow from a neighbor’s driveway or inviting a work acquaintance over for dinner.
What about the poor or underprivileged around you, those with names you don’t know but whose faces you see daily? Could you pay for their tank of gas — or their groceries?
We are closer today to Christ’s triumphant return than at any point in history. The time we have here could be decades, years, days or minutes. The Evil One seeks to steal those minutes away from us, keeping us mired in the mundane so that we lose sight of the eternal.
C.S. Lewis expresses this through the character of Screwtape, a demon charged with tempting men away from their divine calling and delivering them to “Our Father Below.”
In “The Screwtape Letters,” the demon advises his nephew, a junior tempter, to fill the life of his “patient” with activities that are ultimately meaningless. The goal is estrangement from the divine, with this man looking back and saying, “I now see that I spent most of my life in doing neither what I ought nor what I liked.”
May that not be said of us. May we dedicate 2013 to doing what we ought — proclaiming the good news of Jesus.

Filed under: Editorial

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