Thursday, February 28, 2008

Multi Tasking

We busy Americans like to multi task, it makes us feel busy, which makes us feel important. I also hate to waste a moment in life so I am an ultimate multi-tasker.

But, I wonder, how can God take our multi tasking and use it for his ways? Today I went to get my hair cut. I've gone to the same woman for the whole time I've lived in Seattle, so we have developed a relationship. More and more, I feel an openness to talk about Jesus with her. So, as we were having our faith discussion, I asked her, "Do other customers talk to you about Jesus?" I know that she has many Christian clients. Her response was so interesting.

Here's what she said, "No, you are the only one. They talk mostly about why they are changing churches, they don't like the childcare or the music or the people. So, they go to another church."

I can't believe how mad this makes me. or sad. or frustrated. Because we all have to sit in the chair to get our hair cut. We have the time to multi task by getting our hair cut and to talk in an open dialogue about who Jesus is and why it is great to follow him.

But, maybe as I reflect on it, we've been a lot more preoccupied with our "church" than its' leader: Jesus.

What's wrong with this picture?


Matt said...

Tamara, I got my hair cut by the same woman for a long time when I lived in Seattle--from high school through college and then when I was in seminary. She was a hard drinking, hard living, but really personable and funny girl. I remember her asking me what seminary was. We talked about it being about getting ready to be a pastor and so on. She asked what it was like. I told her something about taking classes on the atonement and systematic theology or something like that. I can still picture her stopping and looking at me and saying, "Speak English! What are you talking about?"
How often do we lose sight of what it's all about--Jesus! We talk about issues at church, music, events, etc. etc. but don't help people see Jesus.

Tamara Buchan said...

HI Matt,

It's good to hear from you. It does seem like the stuff we learned in seminary is often quite far from the real world of doing ministry in the 21st century in leading people to follow Jesus.
What's next for you?

Marie G said...

What's wrong with the picture? One word: Self-absorption. Your first sentence, I believe, said it well: We multi-task to feel busy to feel important. The heart of the problem, the thing that’s wrong with the picture I think, is the need to feel important and searching to meet that need in areas that rarely accomplish the goal.

In my minds vision a scene plays out. For the sake of story I will write this in the first person: A busy life unfolds. I see Jesus walking beside me as I go through my daily routine of doing and I stride past the shattered life of a middle-aged woman with my face buried in my busy schedule as I try to determine priorities on my over-crowded agenda. Unknown to me, the woman has received a pronouncement of terminal cancer. Her heart is aching with hopelessness and despair and her features are twisted in torment. Jesus looks at the shattered heart of that crippled life and then he looks at me and he beckons. My busyness prevents me from seeing the sorrowful scene and I walk on, completely oblivious to the need of another. Further down the path of busyness, I walk by a young mother who has lost a child, a man whose wife has died, another who is struggling with financial overload, another who just lost his job, a couple whose marriage is in crisis, an elderly woman whose spirit is bent with loneliness. The list of sorrow and suffering is endless. Everyone I pass is hurting in some way. It’s the way of life. Each time I walk past a broken and bent life, Jesus looks at them. He sees them. He weeps for their suffering and their emptiness. His face bears the pain of my reckless neglect as I walk away when He calls my name. I don’t hear him. I’m too busy. He’s not too busy. He looks at them with great compassion and then he looks at me and he beckons again. It’s his way. He calls me to be his voice of encouragement, his arms of comfort, his ears to listen, his heart of mercy and compassion, his spirit of peace. Its how he reaches into the broken heart, the shattered life, the spirit bent in anguish. It’s how he heals and restores the spirit. But I walk on, preoccupied with my own agenda and busyness and the need to feel important. I miss the opportunity of greatest importance: to be his heart and hands and ears and voice and arms.

My heart weeps at the image of neglect. By walking away, blinded by my narcissistic mask of busyness and self-importance, I miss the whole point of being here.

Many Christians are too embarrassed to talk about Jesus outside their trusted circle of Christian friends. They find it easier to talk about church – about what goes on inside the building. Whether it’s negative or positive information, it becomes their “Jesus” talk without actually mentioning his name. How that must grieve the heart of God. Luke 12:8 tells us that Jesus said, “I tell you, whoever acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man will also acknowledge him before the angels of God.”

I’m of the mindset that we don’t always have to talk. I think it’s more important to listen. Listening is how heart-doors open and trust begins to grow and invitations are extended to come inside a life. Then extraordinary opportunities to let Jesus do his healing ministry begin to happen. Listening doesn’t require us to throw away our overloaded calendars. It just means that we are willing to go where Jesus beckons.

Tamara Buchan said...

Hi Marie,

Thanks for a moving reflection of how our busyness keeps us from connecting with Jesus' heart. It is apparent to me that you were not "multi-tasking" when you wrote your response.
Thank you.