It is around this time of the year that the demands of community life add up. From school to sports, social life to planning for upcoming events, from regular commitments to unscheduled sickness, the moments seem to press in on us. There is a simple consequence. In busy times I default to the urgent. Years ago when I took a time management course I was warned of this danger. But understanding the compelling nature of the urgent has not stopped me from falling into its grip.
This has a consequence for the work of spiritual guidance in which elders engage – in family visitation, small groups, or individual visits. The task seldom seems urgent. If when we engage in the activity of family visitation or small groups, it is hard to make the transition from the pressing immediate demands of the church or family or community to reflect on our life with God.
So elders, pressed between the demands of work and family life and various meetings, find it hard to schedule time for visitation. When they do try to make visits the elders run up against families and individuals whose lives are hectic. When time is set aside and meets occur, both the elder’s and member’s minds are still occupied by the concerns of the moment.
This dilemma makes me wonder. I know for myself, I need time to reflect. Reading the Bible is not so hard, but having time to sort through and hear the words of God engaging my world, that takes more time. It takes a quietness of soul. It requires an attentiveness that lets me notice when deep things are bubbling to the surface. It is a movement that is counter the movement of the urgent.
We’re committed by this time in the season. From programs to projects the demands are piling up. In our church from the demands of the building project to the activity of the 75th anniversary to the ordinary activity to the season, the weeks fly by. The urgent takes over.
Yet in moments like these, we need to take a step back to ensure that the important task of spiritual guidance is not neglected. We don’t want to lose the important in the face of the urgent.