Focus on what? On Trinity, on finding my way around Plymouth, on really learning names at church, on starting small groups, on updating the websites, on posting on Facebook more frequently, on writing more blog posts, on finding an exercise class, on more faithfully eating on plan, on getting the house in better shape, on inviting people over once the house was in better shape, on planning the message series at least through Lent, on figuring out what I want to be when I grow up. That’s a partial list of what I planned to focus on in the first month of 2019!
There is nothing like being sick to remind you you’re not in control. It was just a virus. The symptoms rarely were bad enough to put me down for a while day—just enough to keep me from focusing on anything for more than an hour—for a good three weeks. For the better part of January.
I don’t have a farm with barns. I’m not planning to retire, despite what my 18-year-old students might think about my age and dated attitude toward cellphones. I certainly didn’t plan to sit back and take it easy this January. But the parable of the rich fool keeps coming to mind.
[Jesus told his disciples] this story: “The farm of a certain rich man produced a terrific crop. He talked to himself: ‘What can I do? My barn isn’t big enough for this harvest.’ Then he said, ‘Here’s what I’ll do: I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones. Then I’ll gather in all my grain and goods, and I’ll say to myself, Self, you’ve done well! You’ve got it made and can now retire. Take it easy and have the time of your life!’ Just then God showed up and said, ‘Fool! Tonight you die. And your barnful of goods—who gets it?’ That’s what happens when you fill your barn with Self and not with God.” Luke 12:17-24 The Message
When Jeff preached on the parable several months ago, he called our attention to how many times “I,” “me,” “my,” and “self” appear in the rich fool’s thoughts. Despite my claim to want to serve the church, perhaps I was filling my barns with a little too much self.
The Arabic interjection “inshallah” has been coming to mind lately. As I continue to struggle (a lot) with control issues, I find myself saying or thinking “God-willing” after declaring that I plan to get something done. And I’m working on filling my barns with more God and less self.