Tis the season for list-making.Well, for me that is pretty much all year. Things to do, in different categories for different purposes. I’ve got my “home” section and “business” section, my “writing” section and my “business writing” section. Just by the sections, you can tell I’m leaning a bit. Balance is something I tend always to be catching and rarely something I have settled into.
I do love checking things off my to-do list. Frankly, that’s why I make it. Partly, yes, to take note of what needs doing, but I do relish the checking off part. Drawing a line through each item and reveling in my accomplishment. I have even begun breaking bigger tasks down into smaller units so I can check each portion off. Feels so good.
But this time of year feels like the bonus round of the bigger game of life. Everything counts more. You get extra points if the boss likes your gift. You get double pay if you work the holiday. You get special kudos if you make the supreme meal or favorite cookies or get the cards out on time. You get extra credit for everything.
Problem is, this extra credit is not without risk. It’s more like the game show bonus round. “How much are you willing to wager?” Get it right and you go home a winner. Get it wrong and you lose it all. In a game where you can’t get it completely right, we all go home losers. Unless there is extra, extra credit available. For things that don’t make the to-do list.
Here’s a list I’ve started. Perhaps there are things on your “done” list that never make the “to-do.” Here are a few of mine:
- notes to folks who need a pick-me-up
- emails to friends
- getting the mail
- feeding the dog
- going to church
- helping with homework, when asked
- writing this blog
- Facebook – okay, being honest here
- planning meals and preparing them
- baking zucchini bread
- MANY OTHER THINGS
It is worth noting: there are good things we get to without being asked and there are things that steal our time without telling us. We probably would do well to exchange the former for the latter, but that is the struggle of work and play, meeting demands and taking time off.
And perhaps that’s the very tug of war going on this season. That many optional things all of a sudden become required things and our list grows and grows until it overwhelms and disables. Perhaps if we began with the sure knowledge that we get credit for it all, we could work this out. The world may not reward it. We may lose the bonus round and go home only with lovely parting gifts. But the counting continues and the credit accrues.
Except, this credit is applied to my account. Credit for the things I did without being asked, perhaps without being noticed. Those things count to God. In fact, God paid for them, without asking a cent in return. So I could give them as gifts rather than pay up when the bill came.
I’m not sure my time is well spent in making a “done” list but it is a good reminder that it all counts to God. Just like we all count to God. The world doesn’t excuse our failure to meet expectations, but the expectations He has are measured on an entirely different scale in an entirely different economy. And when I’m paying close attention I notice that the reward comes in the doing. My “yes, I will” becomes His “thank you very much.”
A gift that keeps giving. That’s perpetual credit. So what’s the big to-do about a list?