Rule #1: Everyone has a “to-do” list.
Rule #2: For those of you who think you do not have nor need a “to-do” list . . . please see rule #1.
Whether it’s on paper or in our head (a dangerous place to be!) we all have a running task list. No matter what our role in life on any given day there are things that could to be done.
In the introduction of his book, THE PASTOR: A Memoir, Eugene Peterson briefly addresses the topic of getting things done. He talks about how many pastors have become “disappointed or disillusioned” with their work and “defect” after a few years. Peterson proposes there may be an assumption at the heart of this defection. The assumption is: “all leaders are people who ‘get things done,’ and ‘make things happen.’” He goes on to say, “But while being a pastor certainly has some of these components, the pervasive element in our two-thousand-year pastoral tradition is not someone who ‘gets things done’ but rather the person placed in the community to pay attention and call attention to “what is going on right now” between men and women, with one another and with God.” (p.5)
My “to do” list will never be done. Your list will never be done. This is true of all professions and roles in life. I know too many in ministry who never take days off because there is too much to do. They will very likely sprint for awhile but fall far short of finishing well.
We are placed to “pay attention and call attention to what is going on right now.” What is going on right now in our relationship with God, our relationships with spouses, children, our friends, with those for whom we are called to care and shepherd?
In ministry, whether paid or volunteer, our priority is relationships. The “to-do” list can wait.