“. . . to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.” – Mark 12:33
Are you a to-do list person? I am, and not because I am organized, but in fact because I am not. Without my to-do lists it is too easy for me to conveniently forget all those mundane tasks I would rather not deal with such as paying bills, keeping the cars maintained and filled with gas, filing reports, or setting up appointments, all those necessary details that keep business and life from running off the rails.
While as much as I may not enjoy dealing with details, on those days when I do tackle the to-do list items it gives me a great sense of accomplishment knowing that all that mundane busy-ness has protected my business and my life from running off the rails. Yet, there is a world of difference between activity and progress in that to-do activities are critical in supporting our missions, but they do not necessarily advance them.
It has been suggested that we must work on our business, as well as work in our business, which is to remind us not to get so bogged down in the day-to-day tasks that we lose sight of our mission and purpose. Recently I have participated in no less than three board retreats with different organizations for the purpose of strategic planning. The very reason such events are called “retreats,” typically at off-site locations, is to break away from the daily grind of to-do tasks in order to focus on the advancement of the mission.
In his book How the Best Get Better: The Art and Science of Entrepreneurial Success, Dan Sullivan suggests we should designate certain days as “focus days” dedicated to critical activities, that is our to-do lists. Equally important are “buffer days” that are free from “to-do’s” dedicated instead to the progress of our mission. When Jesus says, “. . . to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices,” he seems to be reminding us that to love God and our neighbor is our primary mission. He does not say that offerings and sacrifices are unimportant, rather that they are not the mission. Instead, they are the to-do’s such as regular prayer, worship, and giving, critical in supporting the mission; for without these to-do’s the mission is at risk of running off the rails. Yet, without the mission the to-do’s don’t really matter, do they?