Our pastor is teaching through the book of Mark. This past Sunday, he announced his passage for the next week, as he always does, and suggested we read the first chapter in preparation.
I'm ashamed to admit this, but I don't alway do the homework. This week though, I determined to be a diligent student. A pastor friend of mine once told me that he studied one hour for every minute he would spend preaching. I tend to use that formula when I'm preparing to teach or speak, too, but I don't usually use it when someone else is preparing to speak.
For a change, I read the first chapter of Mark every day. I was half-way through the morning's reading and realized something unexpected. This chapter is rich and full of great lessons. I can't wait to hear what part of this chapter he will teach tomorrow.
I realized another important truth this morning, too. The answer to the question I've been asking God is on this page.
Fun, to me, is to get a lot of things done. I love a long, written list to start the day IF I can end the day with every item marked off. I hesitate to say it's a perfect day to me, but it's a pretty great one.
My schedule is full, but not as full as it was the last few years when I was taking care of my neighbor, Sam. That was a full schedule that literally went round the clock. I have some free time now, and I hate to waste it.
How should I use the extra time to get a lot more done? That's what I keep asking myself.
I found the answer in the 45 verses of Mark 1. IMMEDIATELY. Mark used that word forty times in his account of Jesus' life, because it describes how Jesus used His time.
When He had something to do, He did it immediately. He didn't make a list, ponder how He would do it, or get distracted and do five or six other things before He got to the one thing He intended to do. He didn't stop to look up something on His phone and end up spending an hour there.
What would it look like if I did things immediately?
1. When I awaken in the morning, I'd get up immediately, instead of lying in bed, halfway between sleep and waking, wasting another fifteen minutes (or more).
2. When I'm finished using something, I'd put it away, rather than leaving it where I used it.
3. When I remove my clothes at night, I'd take them to the laundry chute and drop them down to the laundry room, instead of leaving them on the floor of the bathroom to accumulate until there's a big pile.
4. When doing laundry, I'd fold and put away the clothes as soon as they come out of the dryer or off the clothes line.
5. When I start to work online, I'd keep at it until I'm done, instead of taking a segue to something else.
6. I'd stop putting off and start doing. Immediately.
Yesterday, I decided to give immediately a try. I had a bit of fence to repair because of a fallen log. My chain saw wouldn't start, as usual. I thought about calling someone with a functioning saw to help, but, because of immediately, I used an old hand saw to cut the log. It was hard, but took less time than walking back to the house, charging up my phone, calling someone, and waiting on them to arrive.
I was tired from sawing and wanted to spend a few minutes congratulating myself, but I didn't. I set to work on the wire and a new t-post.
When that was done, I realized I needed to add a couple of staples to tighten the wire. What I wanted to do was let the horses out and take a break. I considered it, but immediately came to mind. I went back to the barn, put a few staples in my pocket, grabbed my hammer, and headed back to the fence.
I didn't stop until the fence was finished. Then, I let the horses out, put the tools back in their places, and took a break.
It was a snow day, and I wanted to spend the rest of the day drinking hot tea before a roaring fire. Instead, I made a pot of soup and, while it simmered, I resumed work on my blogging course. In the spirit of immediately, I kept at it until 5 pm.
I took an occasional break to get a cup of tea, start a load of clothes, or switch them to the dryer. Immediately, though, I returned to my work, every single time.
Yesterday, I studied my Bible, wrote a blog, cleaned out stalls, prepped the barn for the falling temperatures, repaired a fence, and did four lessons in my blogging course. I also washed, dried, and put away a load of clothes, made soup and cornbread, cleaned the kitchen, and dreamed about my new blog (planned blog topics). I replied to emails, helped a missionary with a crisis, comforted someone in their grief from hundreds of miles away, and cast a vision for a new outreach. Before I was done, I had a clear picture of the new project and so much enthusiasm about how it would be done that I wanted to start the preparation immediately, but it was way too cold for any more outdoor work.
All of that, and more, before 5 pm. How was so much accomplished? Because I worked from immediately. I completed many tasks, but I still had time to text with my family, dream, cast visions, and plan because I didn't waste time. I didn't watch TV or YouTube videos. I didn't play games on my phone. I didn't scroll through Twitter or Instagram or SnapChat. I simply did what needed to be done.
If you'd like to use your time wisely, and accomplish more than ever before, why not give immediately a try? If it worked for Jesus, it will work for us, too.
I can't wait to hear about your immediately day, so be sure to check back and comment about how it went. Have fun!
"And Jesus said to them, 'Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.' And they immediately left the nets and followed Him." Mark 1:17-18 nasb
In case you missed yesterday's post, here's the link: Choosing Suffering Rags When Healing Is a Few Steps Away