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Viewpoint from Rev Sue Seeley 12/10/12

Pastor, Neatishead Baptist Church

Deadlines, Deadlines, Deadlines!

We all work to deadlines, including the one for this article. And it’s that kind of special deadline that we think of when we use the word. But we all have deadlines each and every day.
dove leftWorkers need to arrive at their workplace on time, which involves working backwards to the time we need to get up. When cooking meals the art is to have the meat tender at the same time that the vegetables are cooked – without being mushy – and the gravy or white sauce ready to pour over the top, whilst the apple pie is hotting up without burning. Even something simple like having shop-bought pizza with home-grown salad needs organisation, as does getting to church or meeting a friend for coffee. Many things take place within a time-frame and thus require organisation and a degree of single-mindedness.
How many of us have set ourselves the task of clearing a cupboard, only to find it’s lunchtime and we’re still sitting reading the old newspapers, letters and family documents – the very ones we’d vowed to throw away? So it’s not only simply deadlines but priorities. So it’s not just the planning itself, the real skill lies in not be being deflected en route. (Though maybe refreshing one’s memory about family life was more important than actually getting that cupboard cleared out)
Dove rightJesus seems to have had that enviable knack of getting it right. He had heard that his dear friend, Lazarus was seriously ill. He knew that the two sisters, Mary and Martha, would be distraught. Most of us would have regarded reaching Lazarus whilst he was still alive as the deadline (no pun intended). “Yet when Jesus heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was for two more days” (John 11:6)  Jesus had other priorities that neither his disciples nor Martha and Mary knew about. Jesus had already shown he had power from God by the miracles of turning water into wine and many healing miracles. This time he wanted to show is power over life’s last enemy, death. So he delayed going to Bethany that he might raise Lazarus back to life.
Jesus’ priorities were also challenged when Jairus begged the Lord to come to see his 12 year old daughter, who was dying. Saving the life of a child would go to the top of our priority list. Yet Jesus allowed himself to be delayed by a woman who wanted to see and touch him in the hopes that she would be healed of a long-standing condition. If it was long-standing, couldn’t it have waited a bit longer? Jesus thought not and gave the woman his full attention for several minutes and then went on to see the child (Luke 8).
In both cases Jesus knew that the priority was more important than the apparent deadline. May God grant us wisdom and discernment to get it right in the everyday occurrences and demands of our lives