I recently cleared 479 reminders out of my electronic calendar. Some of them were more than a year old; some of them I had been “snoozing” daily for months. As I read through each item, I discovered a few items that had actually been completed, but more often than not, my list of tasks just kept getting pushed off until tomorrow.
Electronic aids are invaluable when juggling multiple projects, priorities, and deadlines, but as I took the time to sort through my outdated reminders I also had to ask myself: If I don’t even have time to manage my to-do list, how valuable a tool is this? At what point does time spent managing my time equate to time that should have been spent doing something else? Indeed, all these reminders allow me to fool myself into believing that I am accomplishing more than I am. Having an impressive “to-do” list is much different than having an impressive “done” list.
I read a New Year’s Resolution article once that went something like this:
- List your top 10 priorities for the year.
- Arrange them in order of importance starting with the most important on top.
- Cross out the bottom 9.
- You now have your priority list.
How many of us can point to one priority in our life? How many of us can say, “This is my one big goal for the year. I am committed, wholly, to this”?
If my 479 daily reminders were any indication, I sure can’t. Some of them clumped together in support of a larger project, but many represented a wide swath of demands that came my way that I mindlessly added to my calendar. Why make the effort to think about this now, when I can merely set a reminder to think about it later?
We live in a culture that wants to do it all, which ironically means we live in a culture that commits to nothing. I love, for example, those electronic “evite” invitations that give the RSVP option “maybe.” This allows me to simply add the event to my calendar reminders. When the time comes, I can decide then what I feel like doing. I don’t have to plan for it. I don’t have to prepare for it. I simply click a button and the reminder will take care of everything.
Unfortunately, this is a false sense of convenience, and even has dangerous spiritual implications. We can’t put off decisions indefinitely. Jesus’ parable of the 10 virgins (Matthew 25:1-13) emphasizes this point. While five virgins showed their commitment to the coming bridegroom through their preparations and enduring supply of oil, five other virgins were caught unprepared. While the unprepared virgins were off buying last-minute oil, the bridegroom arrived and entered the banquet with the five prepared virgins. The doors to the wedding banquet were then shut. And locked.
God extends to us a life-changing invitation, but it is not in the form of an evite. It is not a request to check “maybe” or simply add to our reminder list to think about another day. God is looking for followers who will commit. He is waiting for us to say “Yes, Lord, here I am!” He is watching for us to raise our shining lamps and follow him into the greatest wedding feast of all time – the uniting of Christ with His church.
Don’t let those mundane reminders fool you into thinking every decision can be put off until tomorrow. If you’re like me, you may need to clear you entire cache so you can focus on the one that is truly important:
God is inviting you to His wedding feast. Check yes or no.
Janet Beagle, Ph.D. serves as director of graduate programs for Purdue University’s College of Engineering and is a writer, a Bible study teacher, and a student of God’s word. In her spare time, she likes to eat other people’s cooking and hike with her dog, Marly. Read more of Janet’s Christian reflections at www.mustardpatch.org.