Well, the thing is, most of us don’t have just one “thing” any more.
This idea was triggered by a quote I read from D. L. Moody: “Give me a man who says, ‘This one thing I do’ and not,’These fifty things I dabble in.'” I might be one of the most hopeless cases of “these fifty things” in the land. I confess my own frustration with being such a multi-tasker – out loud. I suppose I could focus well into just one thing, but I like to do different things. Obviously. Or else I am the biggest ADHD person in my family and, to me, this is absolutely normal.
In the course of any hour of any day, my mind is juggling thoughts and work in my “day job”, my ministry, my school assignments, my daughter’s upcoming wedding and all that must be prepared for that special event, care plans for my youngest child, any and all of my mothering and household duties . . . Man, I feel frustrated just by writing that list! Is it even possible to have “this one thing I do”?! Perhaps it is my womanhood that answers, “No,” and explains why Moody said, “Give me a man . . .”
Surely women are used to wearing multiple hats, but I think our current environment has led all of us – men and women – into this jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none pattern of working. Technology is available to the masses and moves us at warp speed. Specialists find themselves in danger of losing jobs they have enjoyed for years, requiring new training and career paths or long periods of unemployment, or the resignation to accept under-employment. We feel an insane amount of pressure to keep up with the world and our own marketability.
Moody’s quote made me feel badly about myself for being so “one thing”-challenged, but I believe his key phrase is a reference to Paul’s letter to the Philippians, which, in context, really means something entirely different. In 3:13, Paul indicates “this one thing I do” as forgetting what is behind and focusing on what is ahead. It is a message to focus on our ministry-calling and where it leads.
Have you ever written your life’s mission statement before? I have tried it – once or twice – but I failed to keep it handy. I’m going to find my last statement and see how well it states my life mission as I perceive it now. Pondering and developing a personal mission statement will take some time and some real soul-searching. Having a statement will also lead to a need to spend time goal-setting based on the mission. Then, of course, there is the continuous work of turning away things that don’t fit the mission. The thing is, that “one thing” drives all my other things. So . . . this one thing I do!