I should be at Nardin Montessori Preschool right now. It is parent breakfast day. The day when the kids show off all the cool “work” they’ve been doing. I should be there.
But I’m not.
I’m in my office working and worrying about my church, life and ministry. I could be at my daughter’s breakfast, but it’s like I told my wife this morning when I put my kids in the car, “No, I can’t make it today. I’m too busy. I’m too far behind at work.”
So here I am… Alone in a big church, sitting behind a cluttered desk, attempting to cross off items on my to-do list, wondering what I’m missing at Molly’s school.
I open the Bible. Not necessarily because it’s a part of my morning routine, but because… well, why not. Seems like something a pastor should do from time to time. I turn to Psalm 127, the selected Psalm for today. I read:
“Unless the Lord builds the house,
Those who build it labor in vain…
It’s useless to rise early and go to bed late,
And work your fingers to the bone…
Don’t you see that children are God’s best gift?”
Psalm 127: 1a, 2a, 3a
I set my Bible down as feelings of regret and guilt sweep over me. I wonder… Am I laboring in vain? How much of this work that I think is so important is actually ‘useless?’ Have I forgotten that children are God’s best gift?
I read again and notice one translation of this text says, “You eat the bread of anxious toil, don’t you know God provides for his beloved during sleep (2b)?”
That phrase ‘anxious toil’ grabs onto my consciousness and hits me like a ton of bricks. That is exactly what I am doing - toiling anxiously for bread. I’m panicked that if I somehow drop the ball at work, all hell will break loose at home. I’m working as though one missed deadline will leave my family starving. I’ve momentarily lost faith that it is God who provides, not me.
“God will provide,” I tell myself. “God provides.”
I grab my phone and text my wife. “Am I too late? Can I make it?” I wait and watch as the ellipse appears.
“…” The dots chase one another to let me know she is typing.
The text finally says, “It goes until 9:30.”
I realize I won’t make it. I can’t make it. I missed it…
This time, but hopefully never again.
Remember, friends, children are God’s greatest gift. It is in the blessings of family life that we find true happiness. So, if you’re working your fingers to the bone or toiling anxiously for a bit of bread, it just may be time to re-orient, re-prioritize, and re-direct. After all, there will always be more work to do. There are only so many pre-school breakfasts.
In the Way,