Monday, March 26, 2007

Did Jesus make lists?

That's the question that came to me this morning as I was thinking about the day ahead and the list of things I’d like to get done. List-making has always been for me an efficiency tool or self-check guide to focus me and help me make sure I’m staying on-task. As such, though, lists can easily rule me, making me resistant to serendipity and interruption.

Jesus, on the other hand, comes across as a very anti-list person, the way He drifted from incident to incident – one day in Galilee, another in Capernaum, then Bethany, then Jerusalem – with seemingly no plan or agenda but to do His Father’s will.

And then this morning, just after thinking about Jesus and lists I came to the place in Luke where He made one! Yes indeed, in Luke 6:12-15 Jesus comes to His flock of followers one morning with a list of twelve people He’s picked to be disciples. Though I’m sure he didn’t make His list because He was in a panic, feeling overwhelmed, or wouldn't otherwise remember (more reasons I make lists), I imagine He had one reason in common with mine -- His time was limited. He had lots to get done and needed to focus His efforts.

But there is also a big difference between Jesus’ list-making and mine, and that is what He did while He was making that list: He “continued all night in prayer to God.” Luke 6:12. Now there’s a novel thought – praying over my lists. Presenting them to God and letting Him strike out some items and add others to my to-do list, prayer list, grocery list, list of people I’d like to have over, books I want to read, things I’d like to do before I die ...

I’m definitely a list person, though I must admit that more than once I’ve questioned the lists I’ve made because they so easily spin me off into my own little agenda. But if Jesus made lists surely it’s okay for me to make them too – as long as I don’t forget to invite Him to be part of the process. Oh, and I just thought of a way to shake off the tyranny of any list that thinks it's the boss. I'll make sure that "serendipity" and "interruption" are always on the list!
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