On My Plate

“I have so much on my plate!”

Most of us have thought and/or said this before. Many of us have done so many times. When we do, we are thinking of a plate as a vehicle for stuff to do, tasks to accomplish. What if we turn around that perspective and remember how we usually view a plate?

Plates are where food is served. We serve others with delicious treats. We serve ourselves a nutritious meal to provide energy for the day. We are served works of art at fine dining restaurants.

When we have “a lot on our plate,” it is usually because much has been given to us or we have greedily taken more than we can eat.

Privilege generally comes with responsibility. A large salary has a heavy weight attached to carry. Leadership is hard work. Mother’s Day has at least one child, with all the joy and mess or grief.

When we look at what we need to do, we can keep our eyes on the task list (in dismay) or we can refresh our attitudes with a reminder of what blessings come with those tasks.

  • Taking time for a hospital or homebound visit comes with a sweet conversation and the encouragement of relationship.
  • Serving lunch comes with mouths to feed.
  • Running errands comes with the provision of required finances, groceries, accessible necessities.

It is hard to decline opportunities. Whether we are seeking to make everyone happy or simply greedy for all the benefits, there is a cost. We can’t do everything. It’s simply not possible.

As we examine whether we need to be doing any given thing, it is helpful to remember that the blessing/task combo we’ve discussed will also be a blessing to others. Are we clinging to something that would help our neighbor?

  • Is there a student looking for odd jobs for a mission trip or tuition? You can delegate.
  • Do you know an introvert who would appreciate the quiet but still-relational task of volunteering in the nursery or serving at a tea? You can ask and share that joy.
  • Is there a retiree in your neighborhood that would love the noise of children in the yard every now and then? You can share your bounty.

It is also good to remember that we have all we need. Benefits are good — by definition — but, in Christ, we are not constantly starving for more and don’t need to act that way.

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