If in the Protestant church we had patron saints, then surely the patron saints of disorganisation would be Hobaiah, Hakkoz and Barzillai. In case you are not totally familiar with them, you’ll find their brief but tragic story in Nehemiah 7:64. As former priests they searched for their family records, but couldn’t find them and so were excluded from the priesthood as unclean. I can just imagine the conversations that went on between them as they realised that their birth right had been lost because someone (meaningful looks) had forgotten where they kept their family records. They had probably been meaning to get around to filing them but hadn’t quite managed it and they’d gone out with the recycling, or something similar.
Not only had they lost the right to be priests, and had effectively been cut off from their families’ prestigious history at the top of the religious tree, but their disorganisation was noted for posterity in the Bible and has been read about ever since. Thank goodness the fact that I turned up late for my daughter’s starring role in her Christmas assembly because I’d not got round to checking the time it started in my diary isn’t noted alongside God’s redemptive plans for the world.
I generally find it much more encouraging to hear of others’ failings than of their achievements. There is something uplifting about hearing that others aren’t managing any better than we are. This has stood me in great stead as my children have misbehaved their way very publicly at times through their short lives. I know that the fact that they are shouting at me in the street will have gladdened the heart of all parents nearby whose children are not shouting at them at that moment. I don’t want to hear how well behaved little Felix is, I want to hear that he didn’t eat his broccoli and threw a tantrum – that makes me feel better about my children.
Which brings me to a problem with Jesus. He clearly managed much better than me in every single walk of life. His time management involved finding time to talk to apparently insignificant people in crowds whilst on his way to heal the much loved son of an important official. He accomplished everything he set out to do in three years even though he didn’t have the benefit of a smart phone alert 15 minutes before any appointment (‘lunch, find loaves and fishes’). He always found time to pray every day although, somewhat encouragingly, he did have to get up early to manage it.
I look to Jesus for love, for assurance of my relationship with God, for confidence that he can help me live the life he has made me to live. But I look to Hobaiah, Hakkoz and Barzillai to make me realise that however disorganised I am, at least I’m not going to be barred from my birth right, I’ll just have to face the wrath of my daughter.