I’ve been making a list for weeks now … been searching and researching productivity tools to help prevent me from dropping the rising number of plates I perpetually spin.
One of those plates is writing Walking with the Waodani, a geography unit study inspired by the story of homeschool graduate Russell Winter’s adventures in Ecudador. A highlight of Russell’s seven-week trip occurred when he stayed with the Waodani Indians. (You might know them as Aucas, a name which translates as “naked savages,” but they call themselves by a name that translates as “The People.”)
Russell had the privilege of meeting Mincaye, the only surviving Waodani Indian from the raiding party that speared five missionaries on January 8, 1956. Among them were Jim Elliott and Nate Saint.
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My research led me to listen to the audiobook End of the Spear, written by Nate Saint’s son, Steve Saint. In it, Steve explores the contrast between the contemporary Waodani culture— with many now transformed by the saving power of Jesus Christ—and American culture. He explains how the Waodani place a great emphasis on relationships. Whereas many Americans “live to work,” most Waodani “work to live.”
I’m not so sure that either extreme is ideal. The Word I live by tells me to “do all things heartily as unto the Lord” (Col. 3:23). But, as I combat chaos, trying to capture and control the myriad tasks that comprise my work, Steve Saint’s thoughtful perspective plays quietly in the background of my mind.
What is of lasting value?
Am I swirling in tasks that matter — or drowning in distraction from the real business of life?
How do I complete the work entrusted to me AND love the people I am blessed to have in my life?
Clutter is not restricted to the physical world. Mental clutter can be insidious. As I (once again) attempt to compile a comprehensive “to-do” list, I want these questions to be my guide, helping me filter out distraction and lesser things.
Lord willing, I will soon see that filter focus and streamline my list, and help me fulfill the greatest commands: Love God. Love people.
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