You don’t need to do more; just take more time with the things you’re doing.
This rings in my ears as I ready things for my day. It is my regular plea to the woman who comes and cleans on Fridays. She rushes through, banging and clanking, piling up and going around. There seems to be a race at hand that only she knows about. Take your time, I tell her, and you’ll notice the small things that you’re missing. These are the things that show that a house is well-tended. Cared for. Managed.
And how often our words are meant really for ourselves. “You don’t need to do more; just take time with the things you are doing.” What a word for this time and this season! This Lenten season where we “take up” or “give up” in honor of our Lord. Diligence demands that we re-commit or more deeply dedicate to something. After all, look at what Christ did for us?
“If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily,” Luke tells us.
Surely for 40 days I can carry something extra for Christ. And I picture myself shuffling all that I am holding so that I can lay the cross on top. It teeters and falls, so I bend to pick it up again and my papers, folders, emails, and articles slip and slide. My manuscript balances precariously but then it too goes. The wind blows and I give chase. The cross is now an afterthought in the melee.
“You don’t need to do more; just take more time with the things you’re doing.” The words stop me. This time the voice is not mine. It is His. It echoes above two outstretched hands. Worn, weathered hands which bear splinters from that self-same cross.
And I look at my own. A writer’s hands. A mother’s hands. A teacher’s hands. A trainer’s hands. What a privilege to carry all of this and all of these to the Lord in prayer and in action. To take my time to tend to each, as if there was enough time to tend to all. What if that was my Lenten dedication? Not to pick up a new effort but to tend to the things in my hands with the diligence they deserve? To take a closer look and notice the things I had been missing.
I am one who prefers to gather in the broad picture and leave the details to others. The devil, after all, is in the details, right? Better not go there. Yes, there. Risk getting it right. Risk taking your time. Do it again if you must, so it is just so. That is my calling this Lent. So that the effort I put forth produces something which shows the care behind it. And that speaks Christ.