I was recently talking with a woman who has received new job responsibilities thanks to changes in staffing at her company. The individual is more than capable of accomplishing the new tasks and really isn’t all that upset that the new responsibilities have not been accompanied by a raise in pay. What has been tough for her is the fact that she is no longer able to accomplish everything that needs to be done by the end of the day. For years, the end of each day was accompanied by a sense of completion. The day’s tasks were done. Things were put away. Tomorrow would be a new day. Now when her workday ends, there are always four or five things yet to be completed that will be waiting for her tomorrow.
As I listened to her talk, it occurred to me that she was describing ministry perfectly. There are always more things to be done. There are always more people to visit. There are always bulletins, Sunday School lessons and sermons to be written. To me, and I think to most people in ministry, this is normal. There are very few neat and clean endings to the day where everything is accomplished and put away. In response to these constant possibilities for ministry, I have found it helpful to learn the phrase - “enough for today”. I don’t every try to accomplish everything. I simply try to do what needs to be done, what I’m inspired to do and then to take satisfaction in what is accomplished. Will there be more to do tomorrow? Yes, of course there will be. Will there be things that didn’t get done on a particular day? Yes, of course there will be, but when I focus on accomplishing “enough for today,” I find that it helps me to discover a sense of balance and accomplishment in the midst of a never ending stream of tasks that I want to undertake.
For additional thoughts on how to balance the time demands of ministry, take a look at a recent post by Landson Whitsitt. He has some interesting thoughts on the topic: http://landonwhitsitt.com/2012/12/08/the-8020-rule-or-how-to-be-a-pastor-in-8-10-hours-a-week/.