You Can’t Do Everything

At almost every major point in our personal lives, we are forced into making choices. Sometimes these are between obviously ‘bad’ things, and ostensibly ‘good’ things (or very clearly between ‘foolishness’ and ‘wisdom’), but often things are not that clear; both of our options can seem equally reasonable.

Some people try to eradicate the tensions which are inherent in decision-making by looking for ways to synthesise divergent options within a happy compromise. However, while this approach may help us avoid conflict, it may not help us make wise decisions. Sometimes we just can’t do everything.

Consider marriage: When we commit ourselves to one person, we also promise to ‘forsake all others’. Did the others have nothing to offer? Would marrying them have been harmful? Not usually. We have to make a choice about whom we will love, and whom we will not. We can’t love everybody in the same way.

Consider moving house:¬†Unless we are extraordinarily wealthy, moving house means we stop living in one place, in order to start living in another place. Was the first place awful? Not necessarily. We have to make a choice about where we will live, and where we won’t. We can’t live in two places at the same time.

When it comes to spiritual matters, we are often reluctant to make bold decisions. Perhaps we don’t want to miss out or upset certain people? Maybe we don’t want to make a mistake or look stupid? If so, we may run the risk of being defined by what we are avoiding, rather than by what we are pursuing.

Is that what following Jesus is meant to look like? Is that what certain parts of your life still look like?

If you want to start a new congregation, you will need to say ‘no‘ to some opportunities, in order to say ‘yes‘ to this one. You will need to stop doing ‘some’ things, if you want to get ‘this’ thing started well. Some commitments will need pruning from your diaries, so that you can be fruitful in this one (John 15.1-2).

You Can’t Do Everything.