When I played the very occasional organized sport that I did (organized means adults, rules, and officials were involved) as a kid, I discovered the “time out” signal. The signal is made when you make a “t” with your hands, your left hand horizontal to the ground, your right perpendicular to the left, making a casual “t”.
At first, I thought the signal meant that you just got to quit playing. But then I had a coach who taught me that in the time “out” of the game we had at least as much work to do as we did when we were playing. We had to huddle up, rethink our approach, hear our objectives crystalized one more time, develop a strategy, assign jobs, check our attitudes, hear about anything we were doing wrong, catch our second wind, affirm each other, and then go back to the game.
I was reminded of all that a few weeks ago, at a sub-district clergy meeting, when Tuck Taylor, the pastor at West Nash Church, said that she had asked her church – to which she is newly appointed – to take a break from smaller things and concentrate on larger things. In effect, to take a time-out.
What West Nash Church and Tuck have done is decide to prioritize their energies: and sometimes that means taking attention away from the more mundane things we so often use to occupy ourselves, distracting us from the things that are really matters of first importance.
You have to do two things to make any use of that observation:
- you have to identify what’s most important;
- you have to be intentional about stopping the discussion/preoccupation with things of secondary importance.
Jesus said seeking the Kingdom – and inviting others into it – are of first importance to him. But seek first God’s kingdom and God’s righteousness, and all these (other) things will be given to you as well. [Matthew 6:33]
So, a suggestion for us all, and one that I will promise you to apply in my own life. Take a time out from the things that occupy a great deal of your time. Then go after what really matters.
Grace and peace,
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Hello from Harvey – Time Out
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