Do you ever finish the day and think to yourself, “where did the hours go?” You woke up that morning with the best of intentions, but somehow the day got away from you and your ‘plans’ were pushed off to another day (where they may likely get the same treatment).
Have you ever heard the phrase “Straining at gnats while swallowing a camel”? Have you thought about what it means? The phrase actually comes from Jesus in the Gospel According to Matthew, one of the corresponding four accounts of Jesus’s life. In chapter 23, Jesus is speaking to a crowd of people and gives seven ‘woes’ to the scribes and Pharisees. These were the religious leaders who were upset by Jesus’s teachings and who thought He and His disciples were too ‘loose’ with their morals. In his fourth ‘woe,’ Jesus rebukes them, saying: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel!”
It seems what Jesus was getting at is that they were focusing on something that is simple, small, insignificant—mint, dill, cumin—all while ignoring something much larger, more important. In this case, they were trying to focus on the details of the Old Testament Law, trying to be sure they tithed just right; but in fact they were missing the larger issues of the Law altogether.
So what does this have to do with us today, in the 21st century? In business (and life), we can be guilty of doing the same thing. It is so much easier to spend the whole morning lost in the weeds of organizing your task manager than to spend that time thinking intently about what your customers need from you and brainstorming how you can solve it. Or how many times have you fallen down the Netflix or YouTube…tube instead of talking to your children about what was important for them that day and helping them think, feel, and behave rightly?
We can get lost busying ourselves, trying to make sure all our i’s and t’s are dotted and crossed, but at the same time lose sight of asking the better question: are we looking at the right ‘i’s’ and ‘t’s to begin with.
You can spend your time a lot of ways pretty cheaply, but often it’s the harder, pricier ways of spending time that are the most fruitful in the long run. Spend your time investing it well. And let us know how we can help you if you need an ear to listen.