All Stressed Up

Hamsters have it made. All they do is eat and sleep, and the only thing that makes them remotely enjoyable to me is when they spin on the wheel. But let's face it, while the spinning is entertaining, the exit off the wheel can be epic! The wheel is what makes a hamster seem worthwhile to me.

It's easy for us to think that "spinning on the wheel" is what makes us worthwhile, too, that somehow our activity is what gives us value. Busyness and the over-extension of our lives is one of the pitfalls of American culture. Many of us are spinning and spinning with activity while seemingly going nowhere.

In Matthew 22, Jesus tells the story of a king who threw a banquet to celebrate the wedding of his son. He invited a bunch of people, and they said they didn't want to come. So he sent out another batch of invitations, but those guests went to work instead. Both missed out on the party!

Jesus wants us to create a space in our lives where he can come in and make his home in us. It is important we learn how to re-orient our lives to connect to the Source of our life. How we manage our time is essential. Here's a few things to remember:

1] Everything is a gift from God! Read James 1:17. Even our breath is lent to us by God, so what we do with our time is important.

2] We must learn to prioritize our relationship with God. What we feed grows. The opposite is also true: what we starve dies. Are we spending essential time with the Source of our life each day?

3] We should give our time to God first. We don't serve left-overs to guests for a reason. There is a biblical concept called "first fruits" which teaches us that whatever we have is a gift from God, and we give to him right off the top, not the left-overs. Trying to squeeze a few moments with God in the middle of your day often leads God being squeezed out. The truth is, God can do more with that 30 minutes than I ever could!

4] Jump off the hamster wheel. Eventually, we will realize all the spinning is getting us nowhere. Faith helps us leap off. We have to watch out for the pitfalls in American life, among them is our over-extension and over-activity -- and we think it's good for us and our families. Stewardship of our time means learning to avoid those traps and enticements. We are simply not meant to burn out and fry.

Learning to re-orient our life to the Source will renew us, reshape us, and prepare us for all God has for us.

Go ahead. Jump off.