14. POISE THROUGH SCHEDULING
During the 1970s, Korean Presbyterians invited me to be the evangelist for the Seventh Decade Spiritual Revolution Crusade.
The chairman of that event was Dr. Kyung Chik Han, pastor of the world's largest Presbyterian church—the Young Nak (meaning "eternal joy") Church in Seoul. The crusade lasted for three weeks, with one week being spent in each of three cities—Pusan, Taegu, and Seoul.
For 21 days I was honored to be in the company of this distinguished world leader. Twice dispossessed of all—literally all—his earthly goods, Dr. Han had known the scourge of Japan's cruel occupation in the 1940s and North Korea's atheistic terrorism in the 1950s.
What I learned from Dr. Han
In 1956, with 27 North Korean refugees, Dr. Han founded the Young Nak Church. Just after the outer structure of the new sanctuary was completed, the North Koreans stormed across the 38th parallel and into Seoul, driving freedom-loving Koreans southward and nearly intothe sea. The new sanctuary was used by the North Koreans as an ammunition depot.
Dr. Han and his people established three other Young Nak churches during their southern exile. Back in Seoul in 1963, the work continued, and the statistics are impressive. The membership climbed to more than 16,000 by 1972. More than 100 daughter churches were established. In addition, Dr. Han and his colleagues founded schools, orphanages, senior citizens' quarters, summer camps, spiritual retreat grounds and facilities, and special ministries among the military groups. Such was the quality of Dr. Han's leadership.
Yet, the dear man never appeared harried or hurried. I watched for three weeks for any sign of pique or impatience. I never saw it.
Dr. Han met with his people every morning for the five o'clock to six o'clock dawn prayer meeting. What a way to start every day!
His life was a model of quiet achievement for Christ. He was the master teacher of the stewardship of time. J have heard him lecture on the subject. Better, I have watched him put his teaching into practice. He so scheduled his time—so planned his work and worked his plan—that he could discharge Herculean responsibilities.
He knew God had given him adequate time to achieve all that lay within the divine will for his work in Korea. In complete dependence upon the Holy Spirit of God, he moved peacefully and productively. Consistently relaxed and gracious, he infused this mood on all those who worked with him.
Dr. Han's life was a symphony of poise. The atmosphere of his home made it into a vestibule of heaven. Fellowship with this man of God bestowed its own special benediction.
Hurry doesn't pay
Life in the twenty-first century grows ever more frenetic. Fast travel, mobile phones, and e-mail have made us far more accessible than we used to be. We move faster. We do more. And there is more to do. It is the easiest thing in the world to lose your poise under the pressure of work.
By scheduling your activities you will make great strides toward victory in this area.
Scheduling defeats frenzy and hurry. It does this by bringing regularity into lifestyle and by imposing order on what otherwise might be a chaotic, moment-to-moment existence. Hurry is symptomatic of a weakly organized mind. Without scheduling and organization you will move fast and make mistakes, and that will lead to discouragement and tension.
Let me suggest that you read the autobiography of Benjamin Franklin. He tells of his effort to master the 13 virtues. He was past 80 years of age when he wrote the autobiography, and at this milestone he was forced to admit that order was the one virtue he had never been able to conquer. It is probably one of the most difficult habits to perfect.
Yet order is so important.
There is a story told of a state psychiatric hospital in Illinois. One day one of the inmates ran out of the gate and down the road as fast as he could run. The orderlies chased him, caught him, and brought him back. The next day another inmate did exactly the same thing with the same result. That happened ten successive days with ten different inmates. Now, if the ten inmates had fled at the same time, and if each had run in a different direction, probably nine of them would have escaped. However, they were not organized. Which is probably why they were in the institution in the first place.
Plan your work and work your plan
Ask God for the wisdom to help you plan your work, then ask Him for the grace to let you work your plan. "The Lord is near," so call upon Him for the needed wisdom and grace.
God led Nehemiah to plan for the rebuilding of the Jerusalem walls. He led Nehemiah in the seemingly impossible feat of organizing labor and resources to achieve the task in the teeth of unspeakable opposition. In the same way, the Lord will enable you, if you will but call upon Him, to so plan your work and work your plan that you will fulfill the divine injunction to be "always abounding in the work of the Lord" (1 Corinthians 15:58).
Fatigue is caused mostly by boredom. When you have no order—when you have failed to schedule your activities—you lack the awareness of accomplishment. Conversely, when you have wisely scheduled your activities under the leadership of the Holy Spirit, and when you are performing your responsibilities on schedule, you get a natural lift. There is nothing more invigorating than the awareness of tasks efficiently completed, and there is nothing more dispiriting than the knowledge of unfulfilled responsibilities.
List your tasks at the start of the day. As you complete them, check them off. When you reach the end of your workday, contemplate the satisfaction of five, ten, fifteen, or twenty tasks successfully accomplished.
Paul enjoins us to be "redeeming the time, because the days are evil" (Ephesians 5:16). By God's grace and in His strength, we will fulfill our responsibility to redeem the time. In doing that we will conquer worry through poise by scheduling.
The Lord gives us the ability and the time to do everything He expects us to do. We have an obligation—and a privilege—to utilize these God-given resources so that His will for us may be fulfilled. And in turn that fulfillment honors Him and dispels anxiety. God help us to live in such a way—as our Lord while yet on earth was able to do—so that we can say, "I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do" (John 17:4b).