I HAVE A PROBLEM. Not a big one. A little one.
I thought I’d turn this little problem into a little fun.
Just for you.
One person will get a free book out of it.
Here’s my problem.
I’ve got too many events on my calendar for Saturday, my birthday.
Not one event involves a slice of cake…which would have been a problem for me 45 years ago.
I’m in the process of painting the inside of my house to prepare it for lots of family coming in for the October wedding of our daughter.
Painting the inside of the house is something I do not recommend to new Christians who have 6,000 spare dollars for professional painters.
Otherwise, I recommend it to everyone and his brother.
Sorry painters. But $6,000? Come on.
Here was my birthday plan before it fell apart.
All day event. Hire some parents of kids from an elementary school that has a lot of families in financial need. Spend my birthday with them painting the downstairs, eating pizza, and hoping one of them doesn’t kick a paint can onto the carpet. (I may have just jinxed myself.)
Here’s what happened next.
9 a.m.-2 p.m. mission project. I realized that my church is sponsoring a mission project…on Saturday…to that particular school…working alongside parents to get the school in shape for the new school year. Building picnic tables, sorting school supplies that our church donated, adding some beauty to the courtyard and grounds. That kind of thing. I don’t want to pull the school’s parents away from that event. And I’d like to help out there if I could.
5:30 p.m. soccer game. Go to a Sporting Kansas City soccer game with my son. He got the tickets for me as a birthday gift. Row 15, midfield.
5:45 p.m. airport shuttle. Pick up friends from airport 45 minutes away. They’re returning home from vacation.
OK, I can’t do all this. But I can work it out.
As I starting thinking about it, though, I wondered how Christians would prioritize those scheduled items.
If you put them in order of importance, where would they go?
Take your best shot.
How would you work it out?
Best answer that shows up first nets a free, signed copy of one of my books—several to choose from.
Now I don’t know what factors you’d consider in solving this scheduling problem for yourself, but here are a few facts I know about my situation:
- My wife is in the mix, off work for the day and available to help.
- I need more friends, not fewer.
- I may need my son to help me when I get old and decrepit.
- “Every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good” (Romans 8:28, The Message).
So, how would a good soul like you rate the scheduled events from most important to least? And how would you fix the schedule?
These are the hardest decisions, Steve. And though our first thought is to think of others’ needs first and ignore the cries of our heart, I think there’s a balance there somewhere.
When God created the universe, he started with the unmovables, then placed the movable things around them. Likewise, start with the non-negotiables — the tasks where you’ll be missed most if you’re not there.
That sounds like the airport shuttle service takes priority to me. Or is it the soccer game with your son? Is there anyone else who can pick up your friends at the airport? How about Mrs. M? Giving you time with your son would be an awesome birthday present!
But I’m afraid the mission project may be prioritized out this time. Hope you can do that without feeling guilty.
As for painting, that may have to wait too. Sleep late and let the family take you out for lunch. Letting them celebrate your life may be the nicest thing you can do for them.
There will be plenty of time for self-sacrifice later.
Stephen M. Miller
Wise advice from someone who knows. Thanks, Steve. I agree that family needs trump the needs of others. Sometimes the needs of the few outweigh the needs of the many.
I think you should have a family painting party in the morning say maybe 7-12. Have donuts instead of pizza, maybe some of the parents would be willing to do both with you. head over to the school and help with the last projects and clean up. head home for a shower and bite to eat and off to the game with your son. I’m sure your wife or daughter would be willing to do airport pick up.
Otherwise you could maybe check craigslist for a painting crew at a competitive price.
Good luck and Happy Birthday!
Stephen M. Miller
Good ideas. Thanks Christine.
I was never good with logic games and just send the book to Pastor Bob for his birthday…my OCD is calling me with this predicament of yours LOL.
I would suggest that Mrs. M Pick up your friends at the airport…that woman is a Saint and you can tell her that for me…if the airport has a shuttle bus that goes into town, maybe they can go to a closer destination to be picked up.
Have some of the church come over and paint your place as part of the fund raising and give them each $50 and a matching donation to the Church. Provide them a nice luncheon (I like Italian sub sandwiches) and give them autographed copies of your “Illustrated Bible Dictionary” as a thank you.
Go with Brad to the soccer game and have a good time…let Mrs. M clean up the mess when she comes back with your friends…give her $50 dollars too. LOL
I always prioritize with Family first, then Others, then Self! Works for me every time!
Stephen M. Miller
Hey, thanks to everyone for the suggestions. Very helpful.
Here’s what I decided to do.
• Go to the mission project from 9 a.m.-2 p.m.
• Go to the soccer game with my son
• My wife will pick up our friends at the airport
• I’ve rescheduled the painting for days that work best for the school parents: Monday afternoon for one parent, a gent. Tuesday for another, a lady and her teen son.
All the suggestions were good. But Christine gets a free book because as far as I can tell she’s the only one who hasn’t gotten a book from me yet. So it seemed like a good way to handle it.
We’re always handling something, aren’t we?