How to handle a full plate.

How to Handle a Full Plate

     A lot of people have asked me how I can get stuff done with as much as I have on my plate.  Most

of the time I am not given a chance to answer them before they are off on another subject or down the road.  I really don’t consider myself a over-stretched individual even though I realize that there is quite a few hats that have found themselves on my head.  

      I am not boasting in what I am about to say.  Just want to give you my life as an example.  I’m a Christian first.  Personal devotion and dedication to God is always at the forefront of my mind.  Pastoring is a primary calling in my life but at the same the same time there is also primary to my life,  the calling and duty of being a husband and father.  My time is also devoted to ministerial training as the administrator of Faith Bible Institute and youth ministry as the vice-president of the Christian Baptist Youth.  Put on top of that, I have another year on my second Master’s degree and will hopefully be putting the finishing touches on a Doctor of Theology by the end of the summer into next fall.  That’s my life in a nutshell and I still feel that I could do more.  That is because I’m an not doing this on my own strength and accord.  This is how God is working through me.  

     These are some of the steps for you take to handle a full plate by the help of God.

Seek God’s vision and grace for your life.

   I am not able to accomplish much, if anything, on my own.  The same goes for you.  God’s grace is the enabler of all things in our life.  By God’s grace we are saved.  By God’s grace we live and it is by God’s grace that we move.  Seeking God’s face through prayer and contemplation throughout the day is incredibly important.  Sometimes we start mindset of seeking God and attributing praise and dependency on Him by learning to speak, “by His grace” when we are planning.

   It is also important to seek God’s vision for your life.  The apostle Paul had his and it filled him with passion and pursuit.  Paul in his recorded trial of Acts says to king Agrippa as he shares his about his conversion, “Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision” (Acts 26:19).  Paul had a personal and God-given vision from God.  It provided passion and direction for his life.  I know what I can do and what God is leading me to because of a personal and God-given vision on my life.  What is God’s vision for you life?

Take advantage of a calendar.

  I thank my mom and dad for teaching me the importance of using a calendar.  They worked full-time jobs and made time for family and ministry.  They knew what was important in their life and their calendar reflected it.  There are two good thermometers for our discipleship life in Christ.  Our budget and our calendar.  Both can point to our focus and our faith.  

  A calendar primarily is beneficial to me for balancing out time.  It helps to make sure that my day is not clogged down to where nothing gets accomplished.  We can have a lot of activity but no real action.  We can become busy bodies that do not get anything done.  That is not the will of God and does not help us at all.  Utilize a calendar to balance your life and use your time wisely.  My hint to you is to have one master calendar per family.  The more calendars you have, even personal ones, the more confusion and stress it brings when people update their personal calendars and do not check in with our family members.

Seek balance.

  In the opening paragraphs I hinted at how many different things I do.  That wasn’t bragging and it’s probably not news to anyone.  I pointed that out because I know that it God’s vision for my life.  A holy discontent in my life drives me to do nothing less than what God has revealed in my life to do and to be.  It is for that reason that I can say that those pieces in my life are the life abundant things God wants me to do.
I remember Josie last summer playing with Jar Fly shells (cicada).  She had at least five or six in her little hands and she was so proud of it.  I caught a live Jar Fly and brought it to her and she was even more excited but a problem presented itself.  She could not hold on to all the empty prizes she had and hold on to the lively bug.  That’s just like life.  There are a lot of good things we can hold onto but God brings us something really great and what it is he really wants for our abundant life.  Christ tells us that he came to the sheep (us), “that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).  
  In having balance we have to learn the things that may be good for us and put them down so that we reach for the great, God’s vision in our life.  Even more, what may be just good for me to be involved with and pursuing may in fact be another persons great.  Once we know what God’s priorities for our life is then we can begin to find balance in our life as we focus on those things.

Be urgent but not rushed.

   Since I know what God has for me to do there is an urgency or an importance about getting it done. Yet, not at the expense of hurting myself or my family.  Balance is still running its course through this.  Jesus never hurried but was always steady.  Historical leaders in the church called this a “holy leisure.”  We are not doing God any good if we rush through His will for us.  We make mess ups bigger and, well, messier.  We are not slothful or lazy.  It is important to move about the things God has put us to with desire for precision and excellence.  Which again is only achievable if we go in the grace of God.

One Testimony

       Several times I have encouraged my congregation to share their “Jesus Story.”  It is simply how they were before they met Christ, how they came to faith, and their life now.  In order to testify of Christ we do not have to have all the theological terms and nuances firmly set in our mind.  We do not have to have a repertoire of scriptures memorized in order to share what Jesus has done in our life.  We just have to be familiar with our own story, our own transformation brought about by the grace of God.  Look at the trust Christ put into one mans testimony to impact one town from Luke 8.  
26And they arrived at the country of the Gadarenes, which is over against Galilee. 27And when he went forth to land, there met him out of the city a certain man, which had devils long time, and ware no clothes, neither abode in any house, but in the tombs. 28When he saw Jesus, he cried out, and fell down before him, and with a loud voice said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God most high? I beseech thee, torment me not. 29(For he had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. For oftentimes it had caught him: and he was kept bound with chains and in fetters; and he brake the bands, and was driven of the devil into the wilderness.) 30And Jesus asked him, saying, What is thy name? And he said, Legion: because many devils were entered into him. 31And they besought him that he would not command them to go out into the deep.

32And there was there an herd of many swine feeding on the mountain: and they besought him that he would suffer them to enter into them. And he suffered them. 33Then went the devils out of the man, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the lake, and were choked.
34When they that fed them saw what was done, they fled, and went and told it in the city and in the country. 35Then they went out to see what was done; and came to Jesus, and found the man, out of whom the devils were departed, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid.36They also which saw it told them by what means he that was possessed of the devils was healed. 37Then the whole multitude of the country of the Gadarenes round about besought him to depart from them; for they were taken with great fear: and he went up into the ship, and returned back again.38Now the man out of whom the devils were departed besought him that he might be with him: but Jesus sent him away, saying, 39Return to thine own house, and shew how great things God hath done unto thee. And he went his way, and published throughout the whole city how great things Jesus had done unto him.
      From verses 34 to 39 we are told of a similar condition of our world today.  Jesus has and still changes lives in a drastic way.  The world though still does not see the benefit of Christ, only that the changes impact their businesses and morality, not their good He does in families and communities.  Jesus did a great work in the man’s life but the people of the community wanted Jesus to leave them alone.  They wouldn’t let him do anymore work there.  At least Him.  
      The man whom Jesus transformed wanted to stay next to the one that changed his life.  Jesus on the other hand had a mission for him.  To impact his home city by sharing what “great things Jesus had done unto him” (vs. 39).  We are not told of other disciples of Jesus at Gadarenes but that the whole country had a disposition against Christ.  This is the people to whom this man lived along side of and would see the change in him.  All he had was his testimony.  He had no training from Jesus.  All he had was his testimony and the command of Jesus to share it at home and in his city.  
        You may think that your ability to impact others for Christ is limited by your education, social status, or financial background.  You may have other reasons why you do not think you can.  Jesus says you can if you have a firm grip on what He has done for you.  Do not ever be afraid to share your Jesus story.