On Holy Musts

Mark Buchanan writes in Your God Is Too Safe:

We flounder in a welter of meetings and errands, demands and delays, expectations and obligations. It’s joyless. It’s endless. Our leisure itself has become an anxious, rushed, fitful business. Our rest is restless.

And this is so. We who are full of ideas and of passion, of interests and of plans – do we not grow so efficiency-obsessed that we lose the holy joy, and bog down in doing? Do we not mark off our laden lists of things to do with ever-lessening satisfaction? Do we not cap every finished business with hardly a pause before there comes flooding the anxious thoughts of new worlds to conquer?

Buchanan says:

Jesus was the man of ultimate destiny, pursuing a cosmic goal, eternal in scope, high as the heavens, deep as the pit, gathering all nations and all generations, enduring the passing away of all things… Yet He did it in an attitude of nearly unbroken serenity, almost leisureliness…

…At the heart of Jesus’ ministry was a holy must. He must go through Samaria. He must go to Jerusalem. He must suffer. Everything he did or refused to do centered around that. A true must both constrains and liberates. It brings wonderful clarity. It allows for great seriousness and great playfulness, and it makes for serious, playful greatness.

Most of our drivenness and anxiousness comes from not really knowing what we must do. So we do a lot of things. We do them all with grim, fretful haste.

I ask myself, what are the holy musts for me? what are the have-to-dos that rank above even deadlines and dreams? and I haven’t framed the question yet when the answers come racing in.

First and foremost, I must come earlier and oftener to turn the pages, must exchange more words with the Word.

I must lean in to look closer, must stand amazed.

I must love hard the language of the lovers who loved first, must not fail to make time to explore the minds of others. (For mine is small and so easily overwhelmed!)

I must cultivate good fruit in all this soil at my fingertips, must grow good things out of all this dirt.

These are the musts that supersede, that override.

Back to Buchanan:

So what must I do? What is the one thing needed? Forgetting what is behind, we want to say with Paul, and pressing on, ‘I take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.’ (Philippians 3:12)

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