Being able to spend time with my children is one of the many things I enjoy about being a pastor. Since we home school the children I usually try to take one of them with me if I’m going to make a visit and the situation permits. They often have their schoolwork done by the time I’m ready to go visit.
The other day my second oldest son Taylor, who’s now eleven, traveled with me to Saginaw, Michigan where we needed to make a hospital visit. By the time we were headed home it was getting late and we needed to get gasoline. We were getting hungry too and I had already called home to tell Carolyn we’d be too late for dinner. Plus that’s half the fun of being on the road together; we wanted to grab something to eat. We hadn’t decided where to stop and eat when we had to stop for gasoline. We pulled off the highway, found a filling station and topped off the tank. We paid at the pump but had to go inside to get the receipt because the pump hadn’t printed one.
These kinds of places must prey on absent minded individuals such as me by not refilling the paper as promptly as they should. Once we were inside I noticed the store also had a fast food taco restaurant. Following the aroma of nachos and burritos Taylor and I moseyed over to check out the menu. We decided now was a good time to eat and settled on an order of the Nachos Extreme for each of us. They were good but the name was a bit over the top.
Nachos are too messy to eat in the car so we enjoyed our meal inside. When we finished we grabbed Snickers bars for dessert and headed out to the car, which was still at the pump. The nachos lured us in and we forgot all about the car. Suddenly I envisioned someone waiting in line behind our car for thirty minutes while we ate. Fortunately there weren’t too many customers that evening and we had a good chuckle at my forgetfulness.
I’ve discovered a few things about absent-mindedness. Mine has gotten worse as we’ve had more children. With eight children I can hardly remember anything. My absent mindedness is also more pronounced when I have lots of things on my mind. I often envy the simple life a child leads. No bills to pay, no appointments to keep, no meetings to attend. But really, the busier I get the harder it is for me to keep everything in my life in place.
It’s this kind of busyness in life that causes us to put off reading our Bible today because we’re so overwhelmed with life’s pressures. The schedules and appointments and activities often overwhelm us and cause us to forget things, but they also give us reason to neglect the truly important things that may not be as important as we think. It’s easy to tell yourself you don’t have time to pray when you are so overwhelmed with activity you can’t remember what’s next.
The answer is discipline. We need to exercise discipline in our lives if we ever wish to balance the truly meaningful things in life. 1 Timothy 4:7-8 tells us to discipline ourselves for the purpose of godliness and reminds us that while bodily discipline is somewhat profitable, “godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.” (NASB)
Are you feeling overwhelmed and maybe even absent-minded? It may not be the nachos. It could be you’re too busy. Ask God to help you set priorities that honor Him. Ask Him to help you exercise some discipline in your life.