~by Gwen Smith
Luke 10:38-40a As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, He came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to Him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what He said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made.
I spent some time the other day at a coffee shop on the second floor of a Border’s bookstore. It was wonderful. It was quiet. The smell of freshly brewed coffee delighted my senses and overhead, light jazz music softly serenaded me. No body else was there. It was just me, my Bible, my laptop and coffee. Like I said – wonderful!
This particular café is elevated and overlooks the entire bookstore, which is warehouse-like because the main floor is vast and has a very high ceiling. Café patrons have a bird’s-eye view of the goings-on downstairs. I love the set up. It’s great for people watching.
When it was time to head out for my lunch date, I packed up and began my descent down the massive staircase. About mid-way down, I stopped. My eyes caught the order of the store. Like a well-planted garden, the store boasted a beautiful pattern of rows filled with content, yet separated by space. It was so impressive that it caused me to stop and to consider the beauty of the order.
The ‘Border order’ invaded my thoughts as I gazed out over the garden of books, CDs and magazines. Each row became a line of my daily ‘to do’ list. The space between the rows became the ‘grace space’ between tasks that allows for congestion on the highway, that welcomes the unexpected phone call from a friend in need, that embraces the crying child instead of snapping at her. I viewed a beautiful balance between the rows and the space. All at once, I realized that my pursuit of accomplishment, my desire to check the boxes each day, weighed more heavily on the rows than on the space! I have a tendency to be more like Martha than Mary.
Personally, when my days are filled with countless rows of things to do, the space between those rows grows thin. No matter how many times I try, I can never seem to fit more than 24 hours into one day! (Duh!) When space diminishes, I have a tendency to get grouchy. When space diminishes, I find my self with very little time to sit at the feet of Jesus and listen to Him. When ‘grace space’ is properly placed between the rows of my list, I am more pleasant to be around, more productive in serving others and more available to worship the day through. Note to self: Factor in ‘grace space’ to your daily ‘to do’ list!! All summed up, I guess I’m going to be shooting for my days to have more Border order. When I do, my family wins, my stress level wins, my friends win, and my God wins. Hope you will, too.
Dear Lord, You are an amazing God of order. The universe is extravagant with order and the designs of our bodies are intricate with order. Thank you for demonstrating through the order of creation that hard work is very important, but that rest is an essential element as well. Please help me to broaden the isles of ‘grace space’ in my life. Help me to recognize and embrace daily opportunities that You send my way to love, encourage and worship. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Now it's Your Turn
Are you a list-girl?
Are your rows too close together?
Is there a friend, colleague or family member who needs a call of encouragement today?
Pinpoint one row on your list that can be eliminated to create more grace space in your day.