Just as Ecclesiastes says that "of making many books there is no end," so it is with the number of modifers that can be added to the beginning of the word Christian.
And on and on.
But I want to add one I've never heard before, so maybe I'm coining it right here: The To-Do List Christian.
A To-Do List Christian is a believer in Christ who rushes around all day checking off each item as it is performed from his To-Do list. That list will vary from person to person, but it is usually complete enough to exhaust an entire day. For the To-Do List Christian, life is one vast list of demands upon his time that never gets completely met. And pity the poor person who falls behind.
"Let go and let God" is a phrase uttered by well-meaning people who deal with frazzled To-Do List Christians. This advice, however, is meaningless. The To-Do List Christian recognizes that God is not going to pay her bills, take out her trash, mow her lawn, homeschool her kids, or do the grocery shopping—at least she's not been able to locate any Scriptures that back up that contention. Ecclesiastes also mentions the many vanities of life, but for the To-Do List Christian there seems no way to avoid them. So letting go and letting God becomes an abstract concept relegated to mountain-top-sitting hermits who never have to balance a checkbook or deal with a 1040 form. In fact, God Himself takes on an abstract reality, demoted from His throne in the To-Do List Christians heart in place of a new master, Time.
To-Do List Christians are easily recognized by the perpetually stunned look on their faces. "Now what was I doing?" is their mantra, as they stand in the middle of a room wondering how they got there and where they might have been going. The fear that they have forgotten their next thing to do is almost overwhelming. "Our anniversary is in two weeks and I have no gift ready!" "Is it time to update my license plates?" "Did I remember to pay the doctor bill?" "When was the cut-off for preschool registration?" "Oh no, I missed the due date on my credit card and now I have to pay a $50 fine!" "My last quiet time? I can't remember when that was…but I do know I have a small group meeting, an accountability group meeting, and the Wednesday night church class—or was that canceled this week?"
To-Do List Christians are tired, run-down people. Some cannot say no to requests made of them, especially those made by their church, while others have learned the fine art of saying no and yet the to-do list does not subside even one item. Joy seems lost, buried under a pile of clamoring activities and must-do items of daily living. Drudgery becomes the norm rather than a life made more abundant. The spiritual world seems very far away, indeed.
This blog posting today is a confession of sorts for me, because I fear that I have become a To-Do List Christian. My list of things to do is so large that I ran it out on an Excel spreadsheet and it came to nearly two hundred items. Every day I feel like it grows faster than I can complete items on it. Yes, some are long-term to-do's, but many require immediate responses. Stack enough of those on top of each other and the load becomes almost unbearable.
I don't like feeling like that, but I have no idea how to get out from under the weight of things to do. I don't believe that God created us to live like this, rushing from one thing to another in a mad frenzy of checking things off a list. Yet as much as I have pondered this, I don't have a good solution. I believe that living in a more intentional Christian community can free us up somewhat, but the "world system" we have erected for ourselves in 21st century America is crushing the life—especially the spiritual life—out of most of us. Perpetually stunned people have a hard time praying, reading the Scriptures, and focusing on anything besides the conviction that a month-long vacation is needed—so long as all the bills somehow get paid during that time. (Even vacation time comes at a price.)
I have a full load of things to do in just the next two days. How much do you have to do? Are you becoming a To-Do List Christian? What can we do about it?
Please comment. I hope that many of us can recognize that we have added the modifier "To-Do List" in front of our main title of "Christian." I hate that. Do you?