Do you make a to-do list? If not on paper, then in your mind (as in, “I’ve gotta _____, and _____, and _____, and soon!”) It seems almost essential, doesn’t it?
But… do you have another list, recorded on paper or unwritten, of your hearts’ real desires as to time use? If so, are the two of them friends, in sweet harmony—or battling rivals?
This is the weekday I’ve dubbed To-do’s-day, and after the last post I published, my mind is mulling over the threat of to-do tyranny. As I go through the hours, checking item after item, I’m simultaneously checking off thought after thought… things I want to share here, with whoever might find them enlightening or helpful.
One thing my thoughts scroll back to is an interesting exercise I once did: a to-do-list scrutiny.
I had triaged tasks and activities like many people might, having rewritten the list in three separate sublists: “Musts,” “should’s,” and “would-like-to’s.”
[At this point you might want to stop and quickly categorize your own list, written or mental, and maybe add on a few things that would fit each category—and not read anything more till you do.]
…After I categorized all the items, then sat back and looked at the whole arrangement, I was struck with what it revealed. If I didn’t laugh, I should have. Although maybe it was more sad than funny. What it revealed was… well, maybe a little ridiculous.
Shortly before that exercise I’d been learning about Jesus’ priorities which He put before His disciples as guides to navigate their lives. What I was now seeing was how inverted the priorities of my lists were! What I’d called musts were mostly trivialities, with usually very fleeting, rather than permanent, results. The should’s weren’t much better. It was only in the “would-like-to” list that I found myself approaching His triage of importance.
In a coming post, probably the next one, I’d like to share what a word study on “first” in the New Testament is revealing to me. Especially telling is what Christ called first priorities—and how they fit, or don’t—with the typical American to-do list, and how they fit with the earnest desires of my heart… and just possibly yours.