When one of our daughters was very little she had a compulsion about clutter. (In fact, I think she still does.) We would go to get her out of the van, unbuckle her from her car seat and beckon her to us. She would spend the next several minutes picking up the minutest scraps of paper and Cheerios. I'll admit that it was sometimes a convenience to live with a cute, smiling picker-upper, but when all was said and done, what she really needed was to do what I had asked. It was cute and friends marveled, but it did her heart no good to skirt her way around doing the right thing by doing a good thing.
I'm sure, like me, you have found yourself doing good things instead of the right things that God has called you to do. I can get so distracted by what others think I should do or by what seems new and exciting at the moment. Like the dog in the movie "Up," I think I see a squirrel and all my focus is abruptly highjacked.
Two things. That's it. There are really only two things we really must do in life: We must love God and we must love others.
Nothing else in life will amount to anything; nothing else can be taken into eternity except these two things. So why do we spend so much time and effort on the unessential?
And even in these two things, we often try to do one without the proper attention given to the other. But one cannot be well done without the other. You cannot love God well without coming into contact with His heart and hearing His loving desire for the people around you to be demonstrated. And you cannot love others well without the love of God flowing through you. If you try, you will only be passing along the faulty image of Him that you've created.
So what about all the other things we do in life? What about jobs and family and friends? These are gifts from God, opportunities to love and to make God known. These are the backdrop where that second thing is lived out, the canvas on which we demonstrate the love of God to others through our loving actions.
It's always good to take a regular inventory of the things that you have picked up (or have been placed on you) as your responsibilities. Are they really part of what God wants you to be doing? Are they furthering one of your two essentials? Is what you are doing, bringing you to love and know God more intimately and are you using your life to make His love more fully known to those around you?
"Oh give thanks to the LORD; call upon his name; make known his deeds among the peoples! Sing to him, sing praises to him; tell of all his wondrous works! Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice! Seek the LORD and his strength; seek his presence continually!" Psalm 105:1-4