My colleague, “What’s on your calendar?” The more I pondered that question, the more profound the thought became — “What’s on your calendar?”
The psalmist wrote in the beautiful 139th Psalm, “All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be” (v. 16). A divine calendar whose entries were penned by God Himself. He has things in mind for us. I often wonder how my calendar compares with His.
I used to travel a lot. Some of my trips were “calendared” several years in advance. There were times when I forgot them until they were upon me. I still live my days by a calendar, some days hour by hour. But the question remains: “What’s on your calendar?”
For instance, does each day include adequate time for you to spend with your Lord? I suggest that those times be early in the morning. All of us face busy, stressful times — too many events in a short period of time, people depending on us, and, to be honest, not really knowing if we can satisfy all of those expectations. We do the best we can with what we have where we are. I do hope your schedule is manageable. If not, find a quiet place, look for perspective, and do the most important things first. Part of that means guarding your time and putting the proper value on everything you do.
Remember when Jesus and His disciples were so busy that they didn’t even have time to eat? Jesus said to those closest followers, who were attempting to meet so many needs, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest” (Mark 6:31). Even in the midst of ministry, Jesus felt it necessary to stop for a while. Likewise, you need to stop for a while. If you haven’t done so lately, you had better do so soon. Put it on your calendar and spend some quiet time listening to what the Lord has to say to you.
I think everyone — especially pastors like you, my colleague — needs a quiet place. Where is yours? Yes, a spot where you can withdraw from the busyness of your assignment and recoup. A place where you can listen to music or read or study. Somewhere — a place of your own — where the noises of the world are drowned out by the quiet of the Lord’s presence. A temporary stopping place.
So, where is your quiet place? It need not be a fancy destination point. It could be in a park near your home, or the city library, or a spot you have chosen on the coast, or at a lake. Somewhere free of distractions and interruptions where you just walk and talk with the Lord.
The psalmist talked of “still waters.” Jesus called his disciples to the other side of the lake. Peter went fishing.
I must admit that I have not had many quiet places in my ministry. That was a mistake. But this week, for a few hours, I was reminded how much I needed one. Where is your quiet place?
“But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed” (Luke 5:16).
“When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place” (Matthew 14:13).
In addition to scheduled time with the Lord, I also trust your calendar provides you sufficient time to honor your family members. Does each week or month have a notation that reads “date with my spouse” and/or “quality time with my daughter”? Perhaps, “son’s basketball game Friday at 7:00 P.M.” What I hear so often is a cry from pastors’ families just to be included in their lives — on their calendars.
How about clearing an afternoon or two each week to just “walk in the village,” to rub shoulders with those in your community who need to see you from a perspective outside the pulpit? You shepherd best one-on-one. Oh, and what about your day off? Do you guard it, or do you allow other things to take away your Sabbath rest? Is your vacation scheduled for the coming year? If you don’t schedule it, soon your calendar will be filled with other things.
I don’t mean to belabor the point, but your calendar tells more about you than almost anything else. It speaks of spiritual discipline, priorities, and, most of all, your intimacy with the God who called you and blessed you with your special gift called “family.”
So, what’s on your calendar?
“Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the LORD’S purpose that prevails” (Proverbs 19:21).