Kris’ morning time of devotion doesn't just impact her day, it affects her family.
Kris’ morning time of devotion doesn't just impact her day, it affects her family. As they each come downstairs and find her already sitting in the chair having read her Bible and spent time in prayer, her greeting of cheerful “good morning” affects the moods of sometimes grumpy teenagers and young adults who are not morning people. She makes space for her quiet time, meditation and reflection, and the bonus of making that space is the effect on her family. I love how Kris is able to place herself in a positive emotional place in the mornings and then have her positivity become contagious. There is a leadership idea!
The Good Samaritan exemplified what being a good neighbor is. On his travel, the Samaritan saw a beaten and injured Jew laying on the side of the road, who had been mugged, stripped of his clothing and left half dead; and he stopped to help. He transcended ethnic differences and historical strife between two groups of people. Despite a long standing division between the Jews and the Samaritans, he helped an injured Jew. The Samaritan despised by the Jews, considered to be so unclean that Jews would not touch them (we are taught), placed himself at risk to help the mugged and injured Jew. The Samaritan changed his plans. Instead of completing his journey he first treated the injured Jew, took him to an inn, paid for his treatment and lodging before returning to his journey. It is a good thing the Good Samaritan came along because before him a Levite (priest) and a Pharisee had passed by, two Jews, and had not stopped to help him despite his clear need.
I’ve heard that story many times and listened to many different teachings and applications of the parable of the Good Samaritan. Be like the Good Samaritan. Don’t be like the two religious men and leaders of the faith who did not help. Don’t be a hypocrite — one who speaks of love but does not act with love. Or, see how truly loving your neighbor transcends race, ethnic differences, etc. And, yet, tonight a different thought came to me — the number of times I don't help not because I don’t care or don’t want to but because I don’t have time.
You see, our time is like our money. And we must budget it.
You see, our time is like our money. And we must budget it. We budget our money so we do not overspend. We put aside funds for emergencies, for retirement, for vacations, for college funds and more. We are advised to have a certain amount of disposable income. Yet we do not often think of our time in the same way. I tend to leave myself no disposable time. I have no emergency time savings account. I am not putting away ten percent of my time with a focus on long term life-sustaining, soul-nourishing relationships.
Let’s be honest. Many have walked away from an accident thinking, “Someone else will stop and help.” We have come across situations and thought, “But I don't have time, I have to be somewhere.” We have been stuck in traffic, known there was an accident, but our thoughts were on where we needed to be and the time we were wasting. I confess — I have wanted to stop and give a homeless man money but I would have had to change lanes, pull around, then missed the light, and I was running tight on time so I decided I would give to the next homeless man I saw when I wasn't running behind. I have been in positions where I could not say, “Yes” because I had no time margin. But maybe you are a kinder, more considerate and compassionate soul than I, and these examples fall flat.
I have been in positions where I could not say, “Yes” because I had no time margin.
I know one of the changes I need to make is to stop scheduling myself to the brim, wanting to maximize time to get everything done that “needs” to be done. I have not picked up that call from that friend with the crisis that has been going on for months and months because I was busy and said to myself, “I can just call her later. It can wait.” Maybe you want to volunteer to help cook a meal for a sick friend but you are scheduled to capacity. Perhaps you found out your friend is going through a painful divorce but you were unaware because you have been too busy to check in. We can’t stop and help, go on that creative exercise, or just cultivate solitude if we don’t make space for it.
We can’t stop and help, go on that creative exercise, or just cultivate solitude if we don’t make space for it.
Sometimes we don't stop NOT because we don't care, not because we prioritized our safety over helping, but because we don't leave time in the margins of our lives. We often don't make the time to start the morning with devoted space for meditation or exercise or reading instead hitting snooze and rushing through getting ready and yelling at our kids to put on their shoes/eat their food/brush their teeth/the list goes on as everyone runs around. Where do you find yourself using all the margins of time? Where could you create some space for hearing the answers while in solitude? How are you making space for creativity so that your soul and spirit are refreshed? How can you leave space for life in the margins so that you can say yes when you want and need to?