No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.
“Conjunction Junction, what’s your function?” Many of you remember this little song from Schoolhouse Rock. This isn’t a post about grammar, but this particular part of speech can make a huge difference in our lives. And the Matthew 6:24 verse certainly can go beyond just money, meaning other areas we set up as gods: career, hobbies, material possessions, etc.
Tacking an “and” to the end of your Christianity absolutely wreaks havoc. Do this and you risk sliding into the ranks of the Pharisees, legalists or any particular cult of the day. It brings huge amounts of stress and distress to our lives. We wind up doing things God never asked us to do, assuming life burdens He never meant for us to bear, following after beliefs that are either destructive or counter productive. God doesn’t want any part of “and.” He demands our undivided attention and worship, a singular mindset. As we focus on Him, all the other things in our life fall correctly in place.
Have you considered changing your “and” to an “or”? No, I’m not talking about choosing God or something else. I’m shifting now to our day-to-day decisions and goals. I’m first to confess that I want to do it all. I seek success in my career, I want to write novels, publish short stories, I want to pursue my outdoor hobbies, I love to serve my church, I want to spend time with my wife, and I deeply desire to be a great father. But as I try to balance all of these things, and many more, I can’t become great at any one.
That little conjunction “and” leaves us exhausted, shallow, divided, diluted, unfocused and sometimes obese. Here’s how most people try to solve this problem: time management and self-improvement. They try to manage all these things into the limited 24 hours we all possess. We simply try to improve our abilities to multitask and juggle. Instead of time management, I suggest priority management. Not everything in life is a priority, but we do treat them as such. And not everything in life is about me. Choose wisely what your priorities will be in 2012. You don’t have to do it all.
Enter the power of “or.” By incorporating this even shorter conjunction, we can change many daily decisions and our annual goals. Earlier, I mentioned obesity. Think how this concept even applies to what we eat. Instead of having sweet tea and the huge entree and the slice of chocolate cake, I’ll have the tea or the nice entree or skip dessert. Or I may elect to eat half the meal, drink water and enjoy my cake. For 2012, instead of working on a new novel and writing several short stories and starting a new blog and taking up a new woodworking hobby, I’m planning to focus on one, maybe two of these activities. The combinations are endless, and you must prioritize, but what a great way to streamline your life.
Remember: you don’t have to do everything in 2012. Thank you God for the opportunity to worship and serve you this year! I want to serve you more than anything else.
How about you? How can you change your “and” to an “or” in 2012?