This one thing I do…
I’m sure you know the adage; Work expands to fill the time available.
In our house, we’ve changed that to; Time does NOT expand to accommodate all the things Wyn wants to do!
My good man is fully supportive of my many and varied projects but he does joke that I’m a serial over committer. There’s a lot of truth in that and I realise I need him to remind me sometimes – even often! – that there’s a finite number of hours in a day.
I suppose it comes down to setting priorities and time management and it occurs to me that, if this is true on a physical level, how much more important it is on a spiritual level.
God’s Word always has the capacity to surprise and challenge me when I least expect it and often when I most need it. This is particularly true of these words in Paul’s letter to the Philippians. But this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on towards the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:13-14 RSV)
For me, these verses are a concise and extraordinary commentary on how to live our lives as Christians. They’re short enough to memorise and use a mantra to keep us on track on a daily basis.
But this one thing I do… Whatever other busy work, whatever demands there are on our time (legitimate or otherwise) and whatever our circumstances, we need to define our priorities. Multi-tasking may be a popular notion in today’s culture but those who excel do so because they focus their attention on one single thing.
What are we focussing on? Are we focussing on anything at all or do we just let life happen to us?
Forgetting what lies behind… Whether it be success or failure, joy or sorrow, encouragement or discouragement, yesterday is finished and done with and we can’t change a thing.
Do we rest on our laurels and so become complacent? Or, worse still, do we get hung up on past disappointments and heartache? Let’s not stumble over something that’s behind us.
Straining forward to what lies ahead… Paul isn’t talking here about a pedestrian and leisurely stroll through life. Rather, he uses powerful language to describe a concentrated and sustained effort as if he’s running for his life.
Are we straining forward or does our Christians life and witness just consist of going through the motions?
I press on towards the goal… These words serve to emphasise Paul’s obsession. The goal is the finish line and he’s fixated on reaching it. The phrasal verb “to press on” conveys the idea of being tenacious, persistent, determined. Are these characteristics of our Christian life?
For the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus. For Paul, reaching the goal isn’t enough; just like an elite athlete, he wants to win the prize.
What is our goal? Is it simply to pass the finish line? Or is it to fully commit our lives to God both now and for eternity?
As I examine my Christian life under the microscope of these verses, I realise how far short I fall. The question is, what am I going to do about it?