by Randy Chambers, 2004-09-01
My family loves to camp. Each time spring rolls around and we are exposed to a few pleasant days, we get the camping bug and can’t wait to get away to some lakeside haven. We take inventory of the camping supplies, and pull out the calendar to set the dates; and we so look forward to the forthcoming family weekend escapes.
The days go by. The weeks go by. The summer goes by … and before we know it life has whirlwinded by, leaving us bewildered in its wake. Where DID the time go?
The cadence of life sounds its beat loud and long—and so we march on. Or, as with many of us, it would seem that the marching is more of a sprint. Our calendars are filled to overflowing and still we try to find even more ways, to find more room, to squeeze in more to do in less time.
Where does it end? We are simply unable to fill our days too full—after all, there are only so many hours. But it could be that in our continued determination to do so, we may very well die trying.
When the Lord instructed us through Paul to press on toward the mark, I don’t think He meant that we are to push through life at break-neck speed. Regarding life, I believe Jesus said that He came to bring us life, and that life would be more abundant (John. 10:10). I don’t believe He intended life to be so teeming with activity that we wouldn’t be able to see straight. The point is: we need down time—we need to rest. To "stop and smell the roses" is a good suggestion. However, rest is more than just a good idea—it’s something we have been commanded to do.
It is so very easy for us to put the cart before the horse—or to use a more Biblical way of putting it—to "strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel." The things that are most important often get lost in the sea of the immediate. We forge ahead to complete a lengthy to-do list, telling ourselves that when we have checked off the last task, then we will rest. In the mean time, we get tired. We become less effective. We may become irritable to those closest to us. But we keep on, keeping on—burning our candles, until there is just nothing left to give. Or until we wake up in a hospital bed, staring up at the ceiling and wondering, "How did I get here?"
We may seldom pay much attention to the minor irritability or a small amount of stress. We may give little thought to sleepless nights and longer days. We may just consider all of that a part of life and something with which we simply have to deal—and to a point, that is true. But where do we draw the line? When do we decide that enough is enough and close the day planner? At least we know to push away from a dinner table when we are stuffed. If we kept eating and eating and eating, we would get sick. In the same way, if we keep doing and doing and doing, we will get sick—mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and even physically.
It has been said that slow and steady wins the race. It has also been said that the Christian life is not a sprint—it’s a marathon. Another favorite saying I’ve heard goes something like this: the Lord has given each of us 24 hours in a day, and it is enough time to do everything He has given us to do.
If we’re not careful, we will fill the hours until the days, months and years have slipped away. We will look back in disbelief and sorrow and wonder how we might have more wisely redeemed the time.
But tomorrow is another day, and we get to choose—don't we? What will you choose?
As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord—AND we'll go camping.