I recently began writing a story concept which has been floating around in my head for the better part of a year. I had always intended to begin writing it, but it took the encouragement of a writing friend to get on my horse and write. Why had I not begun writing before? Using my gifts of writing is a passion of mine, like reading or teaching or playing games and watching films. Why had I neglected a dream and a passion to write? In short: because I kept telling myself that I was too busy.
In reality this was an excuse for me. I was busy certainly, but the reality was that I had the idea that my written ideas were not quite polished, not going to become the story that I dreamed they could be. Yet, as was pointed out to me most recently: if you don't begin even in a small amount, how can you hope to achieve the goal that you set out for?
So this has become a blog post about goals and journeys meeting procrastination. It ties into the idea that my church in Melbourne discussed before I left - the idea that we need to position ourselves to receive God's blessing. After all, while you may be blessed if you go and surround yourself with trash can you fully use that blessing? Just food for thought that comes to mind. I said in my last blog post that I recognise how I have positioned myself for blessing through moving to Swan Hill and have seen in this first month just how God has provided me with great finances, a fantastic apartment location, staff that I can be an example to of Christ's love and the blessing of free internet and 150 dollars electricity credit despite minor setbacks.
I heard a message two weeks ago by Brian Houston. Now unfortunately some Christians, I have since read love to attack Hillsong for being 'ungodly'. In my view, I believe this is because they don't see Hillsong as having the same revelation of gospel and grace as themselves and therefore it must be 'false doctrine'. While my revelation is not precisely the same as Hillsong's in some ways I do accept that they are however following God's plans and purposes for their church in being a light on a hill to welcome all who need God's grace and it's sad to see fellow believers choosing instead to criticise rather than celebrate how God is using another part of his body.
That aside, this message was about how Daniel was separated and blessed by the nation who stole him away to Babylon and the subsequent conquerors of Babylon because of his Godly and excellent spirit. I believe God wants me to have that same spirit here in Swan Hill among my fellow staff and students - to distinguish myself through my very being and so spread the gospel where I may not openly be able to preach with words as much as in example.
I was struggling therefore yesterday with whether to tithe and how much and wondering if I was going to give out of obligation. I recognised however, that to hold the money back would be just as bad given my revelation about giving money gifts to God. So I continued to pray and realised that no I was not going to be giving in the end because I 'had' to but because I wanted to. The only thing holding me back was the idea of all the other things I could do with that money - such as buy and Xbox One or pay off more on my car. None of which are bad desires in and of themselves. But they should not be any reason to separate me from giving first and worshiping God first.
So I gave to my previous church, feeling at peace that this was a gift to God until I properly establish myself in the church up here. I won't say the amount because to me giving and talking about giving should not be about amounts but rather about the heart behind it. And as I was reflecting on this this morning in relation to my writing procrastination I was reminded of the story of Mary and Martha:
Luke 10: 38-42 (NIV)
38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said.40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
Now Martha was concerned with the idea that her sister Mary was sitting down listening to Jesus rather than helping her look after her house. I don't think that there was anything wrong with the fact that Martha wanted her house looking beautiful for her Lord, but it's clear her heart was not in the place it should be with how Jesus told her that she was worried and upset over many things when all she needed was to be concerned with one thing. Which it seems to be implied is 'are you learning to follow Jesus truly as Lord.'
Martha was likely thinking of how she could make her house beautiful and spotless to make a good impression of herself. Jesus saw past that and reminded her that the most important thing was to be paying attention to Him. At times with my teaching I can be so concerned about teaching a lesson that I too forget that the most important thing is to pay attention to the needs of the students. Of course here, Jesus was reminding Martha to instead pay attention to the teacher and choose what is better.
Have you been like me recently? Too busy to chase after doing something you love, choosing more meaningless tasks over the important dreams you hold. Have you been too busy for God? Or have you been trying to spend time or in my case money on things other than Him? We all do it in various ways and this is not to guilt trip anyone but to encourage everyone to think about the fact that you do have time on your hands and are not too busy but may be like me: not spending it the right way in the right time. I know what I want to do, be more like Daniel with an excellent spirit who always had time for God.