Once there was a little Wood Thrush. She built her little cup nest of the finest grass, twigs, and mud that she could find. After several days of hard work, the nest was done. She gently deposited four beautiful turquoise green eggs into the nest. Her mate stood nearby, ready to help her care for their young once they hatched.
Soon after the thrush had finished laying her eggs, she went to find some food. When she returned to her nest, the nest was holding not only four beautiful little turquoise eggs, but also one larger white and brown speckled egg.
The little Wood Thrush didn’t even seem to notice. She cared for the five eggs with all of her motherly instinct. When the eggs hatched, four little Wood Thrushes greeted their mother. But, the little Wood Thrush made no differentiation between her own brood and the larger Brown Cowbird that shared her nest.
The Wood Thrush and her mate worked hard to feed the young, continually bringing food to the nest which they deposited into the beak of the loudest, most urgent-sounding nestling. However, because the cowbird was larger and more aggressive than his nest mates, he received all of the food. Within a few days, the small nestling Wood Thrushes had died of starvation. The foolish mother and father Wood Thrush had neglected their own young as they attempted to meet the needs of the demanding parasite.
Oh, foolish thrush, to let your own young ones starve to death while you try to satisfy a stranger just because he was louder and more demanding than your own precious young!
Yet, how often do I fall into this same trap? I am so busy trying to please everybody, trying to get the 100 urgent things done on my to-do list, that I fail to do the most important things. I fail to seek a relationship with my God and I fail to notice the needs of the most important people around me. I am trying so hard, and I am so exhausted, and still these important relationships are withering and dying for lack of nourishment!
If I do not intentionally step back, view the situation, and then set limits based on my priorities, the loud, urgent, insistent, and aggressive voices will demand all of my focus and energy.
Here are some questions I can ask myself as I struggle to determine what is urgent vs. important:
1. How is my relationship with God?
Am I making time to be in prayer and in God’s Word everyday? If not, how can I make that a priority today? Sometimes, we can even get so busy “serving” God that we neglect a relationship with Him. God doesn’t need our resources! He desires a relationship, in which we understand our complete dependence on Him. If we are neglecting our relationship with God, we are neglecting the most important thing in life!
2. How is my relationship with my family?
Are my family members getting nothing but my leftovers day after day? Do they complain that I am working too hard and always tired? Have I given them the message that I am too busy to meet their needs? That they just need to get in line?
3. Am I doing what is urgent, or what is important?
What do I need to eliminate from my life so that I have time to intentionally focus on the important things? I cannot multiply my time, no matter how hard I try to multi-task. Therefore, if I am so busy with the urgent that I cannot take care of the important, than some of the urgent things need to be booted out of the nest.
What change will you make today to focus on the important instead of on the urgent? Do you need to shove a cowbird out of your nest? Please comment below. I will start the comments with a cowbird of my own!