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What’s on the Calendar Today?

“Try to give your agenda to God. Keep saying, ‘Your will be done, not mine.’”                     Henri Nouwen 


A publication called Bits & Pieces published a list of the “Coronary and Ulcer Club Rules” in 1993. The list read: 

  1. Your job comes first. Forget everything else. 
  2. Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays are fine times to be working at the office. There will be nobody else there to bother you. 
  3. Always have your briefcase with you when not at your desk. This provides an opportunity to review completely all the troubles and worries of the day. 
  4. Never say “no” to a request. Always say “yes.” 
  5. Accept all invitations to meetings, banquets, committees, etc. 
  6. All forms of recreation are a waste of time. 
  7. Never delegate responsibility to others; carry the entire load yourself. 
  8. If your work calls for traveling, work all day and travel at night to keep that appointment you made for 8 the next morning. 
  9. No matter how many jobs you already are doing, remember you always can take on more. 

The list was created tongue-in-cheek. The sad reality is, for many, the shoe fits.  

There is a story in the Bible of a man named Jethro who recognized the toll his son-in-law’s workload would exact if he kept up the frenzied pace: “When his father-in-law saw all that Moses was doing for the people, he said, What is this you are doing for the people? Why do you alone sit as judge, while all these people stand around you from morning till evening? Moses answered him, Because the people come to me to seek God’s will. Whenever they have a dispute, it is brought to me, and I decide between the parties and inform them of God’s decrees and instructions” (Exodus 18:14-16). 

How many of the Coronary and Ulcer rules can be applied?  

Jethro offered: “Listen now to me and I will give you some advice, and may God be with you. You must be the people’s representative before God and bring their disputes to him. Teach them his decrees and instructions, and show them the way they are to live and how they are to behave. But select capable men from all the people—men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain—and appoint them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens. Have them serve as judges for the people at all times, but have them bring every difficult case to you; the simple cases they can decide themselves. That will make your load lighter, because they will share it with you” (Exodus 18:19-22). 

Jethro’s advice could be summed up: work smarter, not harder. He directed Moses to concentrate on the tasks that were within his particular area of strength and to let others handle the rest. 

I want to take a look in the mirror—and at my weekly calendar and itinerary. Where have misguided rules snuck into my life? What am I holding onto that I should delegate? What’s most important? 


My prayer this weekFather, will you help me be aware of the things which subtly sneak into my schedule, threaten my wellbeing, and keep me from things much more important? Help me work smarter, not harder!