Earlier this week I saw a Facebook post that went something like this: Adulting is saying, "It will slow down after this week,” each and every week until you die. Probably a sad statement, but I had to chuckle when I read it knowing just how many times I’ve told myself that things are busy now, but next week things will slow down. Truth be told, all of us have more things to do than we can ever do, and even with our best efforts there will always be some things that just never get done.
Jesus once told a story about a man who invited many people to a great banquet. He expected a full house, but when he sent his servants out to do the inviting, this is the kind of response he got…
As I write this, there is so much that is undone in my life. There are some financial things I need to take care of. There are some maintenance and upgrade issues with our home that need to be addressed. I have phone calls I need to make. There are meetings I need to prepare for. Out-of-town responsibilities dot the calendar and logistics must be tackled. I’ve got to fit in some exercise along the way. And, of course, pay some good attention to my lovely wife too. But clearly, it’s not going to get all done. Not even close. So the question looms: will I leave the right things undone?
In fact, I wonder if this question is among the most important ones we will ever ask. If we answer it well, it might release us from the ever-elusive stress of checking off the entire to do list, but more importantly it might keep us from missing the most valuable invitations in life. As I imagine it, leaving the right things undone probably means leaving the dishes until tomorrow so I can join a group of friends that encourages my faith. Or perhaps it means leaving some emails unanswered and inviting our neighbors over for dinner. It could mean missing the “all-important” business meeting in order to be at our kids’ big event. Or perhaps it means the “bucket list” vacation trip gets put on hold to help build a house in Haiti. In the end, leaving the right things undone could mean a whole lot of things.
I think it is safe to assume that as life goes on there will continue to be things that just never get done. I just want to make sure I am leaving the right things undone. The characters in Jesus’ parable made a big mistake. In one sense, we could excuse them for turning down the invitation. Their excuses were not wholly frivolous. Nonetheless, they missed the banquet. The banquet with the One who created them. The banquet with the One who saved them. The banquet with the One who holds the keys to eternity. That’s not an invitation I want to miss.
John likes to help people wrestle with the big questions of life in his work with Search Ministries. He served as a pastor in Houston for 16 years, earned his doctorate at Biola University, and is a contributing author of Reasons to Believe: Thoughtful Responses to Life’s Toughest Questions.