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Loving Schedules or Loving People?

I seem to be stuck on the idea of time this week, but I like schedules. I like knowing where I’m supposed to be and when I’m supposed to be there. Living with and trying to meet the needs of six kids means unexpected deviations can cause headaches (for me and sometimes my wife who has to talk me down).

I believe the clinical term for what I experience is called “freaking out.”

Yesterday, I had too much going on to write for today so I planned to do it right after chapel at 9:30 AM. No worries! Found a solution!

Then chapel went longer and there was an altar call to pray for the students (where I was asked to play piano). They came slowly at first then filled the front of the sanctuary. It was a beautiful sight!

Teachers and others prayed for them and there was a great sense of God’s presence and love. My schedule was essentially wrecked, but honestly, who cares when you’re participating in something so potentially life-changing!

In a case like that, it’s obvious. My schedule bends to love others. I want to see happen what God wants.

But is God only interested in chapel times or Sunday services or small groups? Does He want to bend your schedule to be there for your spouse in some way? Or your kids? What about a stranger at the grocery store?

I can be incredibly guilty of loving and serving my predetermined schedule when clearly God calls me to love Him and love others.

Jesus said, “love your neighbor” and somehow never gets around to saying, “love your schedule” too.

Like the people around Jesus described in Luke 10, I want to say, “Right, but who is my neighbor? It’s got to be the one who fits into my ideas and schedule, right?”

And He tells me about the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:30-37). A man is beaten up and robbed, lying on the road. Two different ministers walk by. Was it that they didn’t care or was it that they were too busy focusing on their duties and schedules? Either way, the Samaritan man comes by and helps him, takes him to an inn, and pays for his care.

No matter how much you want it to be, your schedule and pressures are not precious to God–you are. You know who else is precious? The one in your day who needs you?

The Samaritan didn’t focus on what he couldn’t do. He didn’t look at the man’s wounds and say, “Oh I’m not a doctor, I can’t help.” He didn’t say, “Oh I don’t time to watch over this guy while he heals so I’d better leave him for someone else.”

Too many times we look so intensely at what we aren’t able to do that we neglect our responsibility to do what we can to love our neighbor. That could be a family member, coworker, or complete stranger.

People who love extravagantly rarely have the opportunity to have it conveniently fit into their schedules. It’s a choice, made minute by minute and day by day.

What choice will you make? What are your thoughts on all this?

6 Comments

  1. Schedules or people . . . It really shouldn’t be a choice if we’re focused on God and submitting to His will.
    But I certainly hear you, Jason. Especially when I was working full time and raising two kids, my schedule was everything! If I didn’t write it down, it didn’t happen. Your words today make me wonder how many opportunities God presented that I missed because I was fixated on my to-do list.
    Blessings!

    • Yeah, I know. I just have to ask God to forgive me for all the times I walked right by or didn’t pay attention. Then I pray that the next time I’m sensitive enough to His leading that I’ll respond to His love. It’s quite the high-wire act! Thanks Martha.

  2. I have the same issue. I put to much time and thought in to my schedule. I am working on helping people and loving them. Thank you for this post!

    • Jaylynn, thanks. 🙂 It’s hard not to focus entirely on what we need to get done, but somehow Jesus gives us the grace to get things done and love people (or let go of things in our schedule that weren’t that important to begin with). We all grow and learn! Thanks again.

  3. Growing up I heard a man ar our church say, “blessed are the flexible for they will not be vent put of shape.”
    That has stuck with me and God calls it to my mind when I get freaked our about my to-do list. God reminds me that people trump projects.

    Thanks for sharing. We all struggle with this.

    • It’s so true. Flexibility is key to maintaining joy and peace no matter what comes. The religious people of Jesus’ day consistently focused on “right” over loving people and Jesus defied their expectations every time. Thanks so much, TC.

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