John 17

High-tech times lead to high-stress tension. The never-ending drive for more, mixed with the popular tendency to increase production and intensify involvement, leaves most folks in the workplace not only exhausted but dissatisfied.

Instead of Saturday being a change-of-pace day, it has become an opportunity to squeeze in a second job. And Sundays? A time for renewal and refreshment? You’re smiling. No, it’s the day most type-A high achievers start another to-do list in preparation for the new week.

Every time I officiate at a funeral, I’m reminded of the things that really matter . . . things that last. Stuff that seemed so all-fired important yesterday loses its steam when you stand on a windswept hill surrounded by weather-beaten grave markers.

At that moment, something within you cries: Simplify!

Jesus mastered the art of maintaining a clear perspective while accomplishing every single one of His objectives. Though we never read of His hurrying anywhere, He managed to fulfill the complete agenda. Just before the agony of the Cross, He told the Father that He had “accomplished the work which You have given Me to do” (John 17:4). And only seconds before He drew His last breath, He made that epochal statement, “It is finished” (19:30). Nothing essential was left undone.

I believe that a major reason for His being able to say those things was that He simplified His life. Jesus followed His own agenda instead of everyone else’s. He set predetermined limits: He chose twelve (not twelve hundred) whom He trained to carry on in His absence. He maintained His priorities without apology. He balanced work and rest, accomplishment and refreshment, never feeling the need to ask permission for spending time in quietness and solitude. He refused to get sidetracked by tempting opportunities that would drain energy and time. He was a servant of His Father, not a slave of the people.

He was firm yet kind and gentle, quick to hear and slow to speak. The complexities that tie us into knots never complicated His life or cramped His style.

What’s happened to us? When did we buy into all this hectic hassle that steals so much of the joy of just plain living? Who convinced us to feel guilty for taking time to balance work with play? Get off the treadmill and reorder your life. Go back three spaces and clean out the clutter that led to all this nonsense of busyness. Simplify!

How much longer will we keep adding nonessentials to our agenda? Simplify!

Taken from Day by Day with Charles Swindoll by Charles R. Swindoll. Copyright © 2000 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson.

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Accuracy, clarity, and practicality all describe the Bible-teaching ministry of Charles R. Swindoll. Chuck is the chairman of the board at Insight for Living and the chancellor of Dallas Theological Seminary. Chuck also serves as the senior pastor of Stonebriar Community Church in Frisco, Texas, where he is able to do what he loves most—teach the Bible to willing hearts. His focus on practical Bible application has been heard on the Insight for Living radio broadcast since 1979.