John to the seven churches that are in Asia:
Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth. (Revelation 1:4-5)
I overcommit. I have read that this trait characterizes my personality type: People like me attempt more than others think we can achieve, and often surprise them by getting it done. As I get older, I find it harder to achieve everything I begin, perhaps because I attempt more. I also realize that less time remains for me to work. The temptation for me to is to forget context. I am not alone. Billions of other people live on this planet. My projects are a microscopic part of humanity’s work on a given day. Our planet itself is tiny in the context of the universe. The idea that God can encompass all of reality with his awareness is staggering. Many surrender their faith when they contemplate the scope of what it means for him to be the one “who is and who was and who is to come.” Our monuments and grand buildings will crumble. Memory of you and me will fade. God will endure and continue to sustain. I don’t have to do everything. God has many more who can do his will. However, he has entrusted me with skills and with awareness of what can be done with those skills. I have responsibility in my use of the time and skills God has given me. Later in Revelation 1, we learn that Christians are priests. All of us serve. God will hold us accountable for our work. However, I can have confidence rather than fear because God is. Because he has others who also serve him, I can focus on my role and how it complements their work in achieving God’s purpose. I can have peace because he is a God of grace.
O God who was, and who is, and who is to come,
Your presence endures throughout time. Because you are near, we have hope and confidence just as a child learning to ride a bicycle believes he or she can succeed when a parent stands nearby. Your continuing presence gives us perspective. We react to events in the moment with great urgency. You remind us that this moment exists in the context of millennia. Thousands of years have passed; we don’t know how many lie ahead. The actions of people in the past have contributed to what transpires today. What we do today will set the stage for implications and decisions tomorrow. Give us wisdom when the weight of responsibilities threatens to crush us. Help us to move with patience and purpose, aware of our spiritual and temporal context, so that we may act in harmony with your overarching purpose. May we remember your grace when we tremble in fear of this moment. May we know peace when stress saps us of energy. Help us to remember that you are here. Thank you for your love through Jesus. I pray in his name, Amen.