(Originally posted on our former blog site on 2/11/2013)
My husband and I are youth pastors at a great church here in Stockton, CA and we dedicated the month of February to a series we are calling "He, She". Original, right? The month of love and we talk about relationships. But I can honestly say that this series, hands down, is becoming one of my all time favorites.
I couldn't help but laugh out loud (with my obnoxiously high pitched laugh I might add) last week as my wonderful husband shared about his ability- or lack thereof- to open our double stroller exemplifying the differences between men and women. He does everything short of banging the thing up against the side of our car while I can come up behind him holding our 14 month old, drinking my coffee, talking on the phone, and push both buttons while flinging the stroller with one hand to open it. It is just the perfect depiction of the differences between him and I, and I am sure that God intended it this way.
Multi-tasking isn't just something that happens, it is something that I work at and take great pride in. I love being able to turn an entire to-do list into a to-done list before the end of the day. Cleaning, planning, organizing, crafting, baking, cooking and... mommy-ing.. this is the story of my everyday life and I wouldn't have it any other way! Looking around I believe that many other people share my love of getting multiple things accomplished simultaneously. I mean come on, the phrase "two birds with one stone" has been around forever, need I say more? When I was a kid a phone was the size of your head and could only make phone calls. Now we can call, text, e-mail, Facebook, shop, take pictures, and play games all from one device that can fit into our pocket. Society loves multi-tasking.
I am not discrediting the many MANY benefits of it, but have you ever stopped to think that by doing so much at one time we are actually hurting ourselves more than helping?
I have noticed that teenagers (and dare I say people in general) don't talk, go for walks, resolve problems face to face, or even make eye contact as much as they did when we first started out in youth ministry over 6 years ago. We are forever connected to the world through the all powerful internet and thereby not really connected at all. Let's face it, we are distracted by multi-tasking.
Last year I was scheduled to preach for one of our Wednesday night services but our boys came down with some fierce colds and while I humored the idea of staying home, my husband insisted that he come home instead. He thinks it is just as important for teenagers to see us doing ministry together; I love this about him. On my way to the church I noticed that due to the time of day traffic was getting a little congested so I turned down a side street to take the back way instead. After a few turns I found myself in the middle "suicide" lane so I could turn down another back street before getting back on the main road. I was waiting for the SUV to pass so that I could turn behind him. The light was red for his side of traffic. The cars were backed up on his side making the last car in line completely parallel with mine. He kept coming. The light was still red. And he just kept coming. No brakes. The light was still red and he kept coming. I was 3 feet away from the woman as he drove full speed into the back of her car and I knew that was the last moment she would ever have here on earth.
My heart stopped and my hands started shaking, as I pulled to the side of the road. I get out of the car to see the man examining his car and all I could think was "ARE YOU REALLY THAT SELF CONSUMED TO NOT REALIZE WHAT YOU HAVE JUST DONE?"
He was distracted by attempting to do too many things at once and it cost a woman her life. I had to wait until the police came to give an account of what I had seen. I saw the firemen pull her shoeless body from the car and I wondered where could she have possibly been going without her shoes. I saw them doing their very best to resuscitate her. And then I saw them put her body in a last ditch effort into the back of an ambulance rushing to the hospital where she was later pronounced dead. I saw her.
I saw her.
Until that moment I was in a rush to get where I was going, but in that moment none of it seemed important anymore.
Friends, in the midst of our tasks and to-do's let us never forget to put our full attention in the here and now. See the beauty in the journey, don't just speed through. Spend time with God, read your Word, take a walk, talk to a friend, tell someone how much they mean to you. Take a moment to just stop what you are doing and ask yourself at the end of your life if you really would wish you had spent more time cleaning, working, or organizing instead of spending time with God and the ones you love.
Goals are important, but they will never compare to the importance of people that come into your life.
I am reminded of this when I read about how Jesus met with the woman at the well. Why, you may ask. It is simple, if He was focused on getting to his next destination He would have never been there. It was completely out of His way. It was not convenient. It was not of great benefit to Him. It did not accomplish anything other than temporarily quenching his thirst and expressing to a broken woman that she was greatly loved by a Heavenly Father that she didn't even know. And it is even more beautiful because in scripture it put that He "had" to go there.
If you think about it, all throughout scripture the number of stories that happen unplanned far outweigh the ones they had planned for. I am so thankful that Jesus wasn't too distracted for me when I needed Him. People are what make life beautiful... and interesting... and painful... and every other emotion that you can imagine. But despite it all, people are worth putting life on hold for a minute. Don't get distracted with temporary things; put all of your attention on one thing and show the love of God to somebody today!
Luke 10:40-42 But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.” But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.