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In case you didn’t realise I was away at a conference for the first three days of this week. While I was there I was checking my emails when I saw an urgent message from someone who needed a relatively instant response from me that I was unable to deal with until I got home. It was nothing to do with church stuff but needed attention. Harumph!

I felt a bit helpless and also (if I am honest) a bit put upon. There is nothing I can do about it until tomorrow (Thursday). I can’t change that fact. But the email did not seem to take into account the possibility that I might not be able to do anything until tomorrow and set an impossible deadline for me to comply with. It felt a bit unfair. Because someone else had not got their administrative act together soon enough now I felt under pressure and was being expected to sort things out in an unrealistic time frame. Harumph!

Then I wondered how often I do that to other people. Do I place them under pressure to fit in with me and my plans? Do I ask other people to adjust to me (perhaps even because of my own inefficiency) to dig me out of a hole? Do I assume that everyone else is as available as me? Do I expect other people to put aside what is important for them in order to do what is important for me? Harumph?

At the conference there was a moment where we reflected on a description of Jesus ’emptying himself’ – divesting himself of his divine rights to take on humanity (while not compromising his God-ness – kaboom! [the sound of theological brains exploding as they grapple with it). There is so much in this but one aspect is that of humility: he did the unthinkable and reversed the expectations of the day that were about social climbing and looking down on others. One part of the Christian message is that in Jesus God re-turned humility from being regarded as something despicable into a virtue. hmmm.

With that in mind I decided that I should stop grumpily harumphing and get on with being gracious. And I should try to ensure that I was not expecting everyone else to dance to my rhythm and join in with me on my terms.

Be blessed, be a blessing

enter the matrix

I am not sure when I first came across the matrix that is supposed to help you prioritise

Click on the image to go to the source website

I have always found it helpful, but there are a couple of problems:

Who decides whether something is urgent or important? What I consider important, for example, may be considered unimportant by others.

What happens to the not urgent and not important stuff? Do we ever get around to it?

If you put this matrix onto the gospel narratives about Jesus it doesn’t seem to fit. Surely going to his friend Lazarus when he was gravely ill was urgent and important, but Jesus waited a few more days and Lazarus died (okay, yes Jesus did raise him back to life later).

In the midst of a crowd, on the way to see a sick girl, a woman touched his cloak. Surely that’s unimportant and not urgent, especially compared to the child? But Jesus stops and asks who did it in order to bless that woman whose faith in Jesus healed her. (And yes, later Jesus did heal the girl, who had died by the time he got there).

But he seems to spend a lot of his time with people whose needs were considered unimportant by the majority. He got angry with his friends who considered blessing children to be unimportant and not urgent and turned them away.

Get the idea?

So, onto the matrix above I would like to superimpose several layers. One is what I consider urgent and important. Another is what the church I serve considers urgent and important and the third is what God considers urgent and important. Where they match – hallelujah! Where they don’t, God’s matrix takes priority.

Be blessed, be a blessing.