One Thing Is Needful
Jesus answered and said unto her, “Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:41-42
A full year has passed since we arrived in Davao. This year has brought many joys and some challenges. One issue that we find ourselves revisiting again and again is our time management. There is no lack of opportunity for good works here, and it did not take long for us both to become quite busy. Matt and I have frequently found ourselves feeling stressed, frazzled, and overstretched, looking at each other and asking, “How did we let ourselves get this busy?” This is not a new thing. We experienced it in the U.S. as well, and I don’t think we are unusual in finding it all too easy to commit to more outside responsibilities than we really have time for.
By cultural convention, January is a time for examining priorities and setting goals. “Doing less” might seem like an odd goal for a missionary. But we have found that when we overextend ourselves with outside commitments, however worthy those works may seem, two vital things are often neglected: our time with our children and our time with the Lord.
My first year without my oldest children under my roof has made me acutely aware of how brief and our time with our children really is. Ezekiel just turned 12, Hosanna is 6. We have only 10-15 years of full-time parenting left, and we will, Lord willing, have many years to pour more fully into ministry when we do not have young children at home.
So this year, I cut back a little on the number of birth room shifts that I am working. I want to be more deliberate about my time with my children rather than coming home to them after a long day, already exhausted and spent. I want to put more consistent energy into my language studies, knowing that time invested here will greatly enhance my ability to build relationships with Filipinos and to care for and minister to (usually the poorest) patients who speak little or no English.
Most importantly, I want to prayerfully test each new opportunity that comes my way this year: is this a good work that Christ has put before me to do, or is it a distraction? One thing is needful, and I do not want to neglect it.