Click here for the audio version: Checklist Christianity
Occasionally my wife will ask me to go to the store and pick up some items we need. When this happens I ask for the list and proceed to check off the items on it. I return home with the items and the checked off list feeling good about myself. If we needed something that was not on the list, it is not my fault, because I followed the list. The checks on the list render me blameless. The truth is, I don’t enjoy going to the store, but I know it needs to be done. We need things and my wife needs my help, so I dutifully get in the vehicle and head to the store. I need to go, but I don’t want to go. This is what makes the checklist so important. The list makes me efficient and limits my time in the store. This makes the checklist my focus rather than getting the things we need. I have now lost sight of the purpose of my trip to the store. I have substituted the checking off of the list as the accomplishment of the goal.
For all my friends out their who can make me a list of reasons why lists are helpful in life and should be used by more people, just relax. I am not picking on the use of a list. I am, however beginning to realize that I have a tendency to equate the checking off of the list to accomplishing the purpose. Every morning I have set aside the first part of my day to meet with God. I also have a systematic approach to reading the Word each day. This is a priority for me. Before I check email, visit social media sites or head out to appointments, I meet with God. At least that is the purpose of the time I’ve set aside. Unfortunately there are times when I become more focused on checking off the things on my daily devotional checklist than actually meeting with God. I have substituted efficiency for intimacy and failed to accomplish the purpose of the list. There is nothing wrong with my approach. The issue is my focus. I know how good it can feel when you get to check things off of your to do lists each day, but what is most rewarding is the accomplishment of purpose that put it on the list in the first place. When the list serves me it is good. When I serve the list it is not.
How much of our relationship with God is spent checking off to do lists each day? Bible read. Check. Prayers prayed. Check. Ready for the day? Only if we have really met with Him and increased our awareness of Him in our lives. Being a christian is so much more than a list of duties to be performed. You don’t need to throw away your list. Just be sure you are fulfilling the purpose of it!