Reflections On The Journey
|Posted on December 12, 2022 at 8:00 AM|
Monday Meditation – Good, Better or Best 12/12/2022
Already we are in the third week of Advent. Why have the first two weeks gone by so quickly? It seems we just turned the calendar page to December, and now Christmas is less than two weeks away. And I am behind.
When I spent some time thinking about why that is, I realized that, like usual, I have gotten involved in so many things. I’ve been so busy that I have been under more stress, gotten behind in some of my tasks, and as a result I have not always been able to do my best.
That’s frustrating to me.
But God has a way of pointing things out! As I was trying to catch up in my Bible in a Year (BIY) readings last week, I came across Sirach Chapter 40, which spoke directly about my problem. If you are not familiar with Sirach, it’s a book containing many statements similar to Proverbs, offering wisdom and thoughts for pondering. The particular passages that hit home are Sirach 40:17-26. These verses list things that are good, followed by something that is better. For example, Sir 40:25 says “Gold and silver make one’s way secure, but better than either is sound judgement.” I noticed that some of the particular items listed in these verses didn’t necessarily apply to my life, but more important was the idea behind the verses: there is a difference between what is good and what is better, and sometimes we need to choose what is better.
And to reinforce this, in a little mini retreat this past weekend I listened to the speaker talk about the story of Mary and Martha (Luke 10:38-42) and how Mary had chosen the better portion, that of being with Jesus. Although we may need to cook and clean, that doesn’t mean we can’t also spend time with our Lord. That better portion is available to every one of us!
Wow. All this hit home. I always want to help people and to improve my relationships with God and others, so I sign up to do many things. And I think those things are pretty good! But when all these good things overwhelm me, I perhaps can fail to choose the better portion, or fail to do my best.
To help me sort out my life, I listed out the major things that I do, and I came up with nine categories, and within each of those categories were several tasks and projects. I think the majority of them are truly good things that help others, and some of them are even necessary for my health and well-being. Some don’t take a lot of time, and others do. Certain ones require effort several times per week, and others are more episodic, or can even be put off for a period of time.
This analysis was eye-opening - no wonder I’m so busy and under some stress!
I have now begun the next step of my analysis, which is harder: going through the list and trying to identify which ones are truly “better” than the others, and perhaps even which ones are “best.” Questions I am asking about each are “Does this activity enhance my faith life and draw me closer to God,” “Does it improve my relationships with my family and my friends,” “Does this energize me so I can better perform other things,” “ Is it worth the time and effort I must put into it?” and “Is it truly necessary for me to do?” And I need to take these items to God. What does He want me to do?
I know I won’t be able to finish this analysis in a day, or maybe not even by the end of this week. This is going to take some serious reflection, and no doubt I may ultimately have to make some hard decisions about activities I should discontinue. I hate disappointing people, so saying “no” is going to be difficult. But in the long run, I know in my heart that choosing the better and the best things will ultimately help me manage my life more effectively, and perhaps even give me some new blessings.
This week, I suggest you take a look at your own life. Are there some things you do that are not good? Maybe it’s time to stop. If you have gotten too busy with “good things,” like me, maybe you could take a look at all the good things in your life and decide which ones are better and best. Ask God to help you! This reflection may take you a little time, but as we journey closer to Christmas and the coming of Christ, it may be just the right time to do this. Perhaps you will ultimately decide it’s time to stop doing some of the good things in favor of the better or best things. I believe God will bless us when we choose “better” and “best.”
Have a blessed Monday!
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