I’ve been asking God these days to help me to distinguish between great and small events – for my morning as well as for my life. With all that is going around me and all that is going on within me, this feels like an important question. It was Winston Churchill who said, “When a man cannot distinguish a great from a small event, he is of no use.”
Is catching up on my e-mail backlog a great or a small event? It’s great as far as the size of the task, but is it what is needed in this moment? Or how about that person I’ve been thinking I need to call for the past two weeks – great or small? What about that book that just came to mind that I never finished reading? Or the errands I could run this day?
Distinguishing between a great and small event is not simply about good time-management skills. Rather, it is about being orientated, tuned in, living transcendently – with the belief that there is more going on than I am currently aware of and the story I am living in is bigger than myself.
I was reading Eph. 5:15-17; “Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.”
There is a lot at stake these days, everything from the global economy, to the elections, to our families, to the person who is just about to give up out of despair and can be rescued with a word. A friend of mine just sent me a quote by Francis Frangipane, “Rescue is the constant pattern of God’s Activity.” God is up to rescuing, healing the brokenhearted and setting captives free, and we are to be a display of his splendor (Isa. 61). So, there is more going on than we have ever imagined and the way we live is more consequential than we may have been told.
I want to live wisely, I want to understand the purpose of my life in this moment and offer what I have been given to offer.
When Paul says that we are to make the most of our time he is not saying that efficiency, thoroughness or precision is needed. He is implying something more difficult, more adventurous, something that will require much more of our heart and our walk with God – understanding the meaning of the present moment, — distinguishing our own great from small events.
I am coming to a deeper understanding that I can’t simply live at the level of getting stuff done each day. And, that what may appear to me to be a minor, inconsequential task may actually be a rescue in the true scheme of things.
So, I must ask God throughout the day, what is the meaning of this moment, what are the great events, is there someone You want me to offer to, or are You offering something to me that I need right now?
The Amplified Bible translates this verse as, “Live purposefully & worthily & accurately, not as the unwise and witless, but as wise — sensible, intelligent people; making the very most of the time because the days are evil. Therefore do not be vague & thoughtless & foolish, but understanding & firmly grasping what the will of the Lord is.”
Walking wisely with you,