There is a very practical side to “availability” that can drive you crazy and run you ragged. If you haven’t already noticed, there can be, at any point in time, more “need” than there is enough of you. If you make yourself available to every person, every request, and every opportunity that comes your way, it just won’t work. “Yes” and “No” are the required answers for any and every one of those. But how do you sort through them? For which ones should you be available?
I am making no claim of having all the answers to this. Nor am I claiming to always do this right. But here are two quick principles I am learning:
- My role influences my response. If I begin to sort through the roles I play, I discover that I am a husband, a father, a pastor, an employee, a supervisor, and a citizen. I cannot ignore any of those. The other day, Celeste and I were at a public event, where we saw a child venturing into a potentially harmful area while the mother watched from the side. As Celeste and I observed, I heard Celeste saying under her breath, “Be a ‘mommy!’ Be a ‘mommy!’” You see, there are people we need to be available to, responsibilities we need to assume, simply because of the role we play.
- My gifting affects my decision. There are certain people/needs to which we make ourselves available simply because God has gifted us meet that need. If someone needs a “hand” and God has gifted you as a “hand,” perhaps you should say “yes!” Months ago, a man who had probably observed way too many linguistic mistakes in these written devotionals offered to be another set of “eyes.” If you are noticing fewer errors, it’s because Dave has made himself available to proofreed! But, if the need is outside of your gifting and ability, don’t be afraid to point others in the direction of someone who can help.
Of course, there are many other principles that should help you in determining your availability, but the question of role and gifting provide you with a good place to start.