August 18 (John 15:4)
Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me. (NLT)
One of God’s most common messages is that we cannot do it all by ourselves. One of the most common messages of the current age is not only that we can do it all by ourselves, but that we should. From e-trading that no longer requires a broker to the self-checkout line at the grocery store, technology has put more and more power into our hands to do things alone that before would have required others. Just consider the filmmaking power you have on your phone. You can record sound and moving images, add background music and credits, edit the whole production, and upload it for grandparents and the world to see before you even get home from your child’s game or recital.
How does all that power make you feel? Does it really make you feel powerful? Or does it increase your stress and anxiety because everyone now expects you to do it all and to do it perfectly? Not that this would come as a surprise to anyone who knows me, but I am not God. I could not have kept up with the demands of the pre-industrial age, much less the pressures of our 24/7, interconnected world. I can’t do it and I am not going to try. What I can do is stay connected to the true vine, Jesus Christ. What does He want me to do today? Whatever it is, Matthew 11:28-30 tells me it will be a lighter burden than what the world puts on me. Whatever it is, Philippians 4:13 reminds me that I can do it with His strength. Whatever it is, 1 Corinthians 12 says that other people may be gifted to do part of it and that I would do well to work with them.
There’s one other thing. Trying to do it all may keep you from doing what God has actually called you to do. Busyness is not holiness. What will generate your agenda this week? Will it be your calendar and your inbox and the electronic voices of all those who have your contact information, or will it be God, Who knows you and formed you to do His good and perfect will? If you set out to do all, but only, what God has for you to do, He will give you all you need to accomplish it.
Father, rather than asking for help to do all the things I think I must, I will first ask what You actually want me to do. Show me the path You want me to take, and I will trust You to provide what I need to get there. In the name of Jesus, amen.