I watched a Food Network Challenge with my kids last night. It was a cake challenge, eight hours for a pastry chef and assistant to design and create an elaborate cake for a specific occasion or theme. Four teams. Four cakes. The winner gets $10,000.
But in this challenge, the unforeseen happened. With one hour left on the competition clock, a chef passed out. The clock was stopped. The ambulance was called. The chef regained consciousness, but left on the gurney to get checked out at the ER.
This chef’s assistant, however, was now on her own with the daunting task of putting on the finishing touches. The chef from another team spoke up. His cake was almost finished. He could help finish the cake for the chef that was ill. The competition resumed. The helping chef’s assistant finished their cake, then he, too, came to help complete the ill chef’s cake.
When the time came for each chef to stand before the judges, here is what one of them said to the chef who left his own work to help another: “I applaud your time management. Because did your own work so well, you were available to help someone in need.”
Her statement hit me square between the eyes. I’d had a discussion with a friend that very afternoon about time and what it should be used for. When I stand before the One who judges my work, will he applaud my time management? At this moment, the answer would be no, because the point is not “am I getting everything done,” the point is “am I meeting my responsibilities with excellence and thoroughness in a timely manner so that when a true need arises I can be available to help.”
Notice that this chef would not have been expected to pick up the slack for another chef who simply chose to over-embellish their project and ran short on time. In fact, that happens all the time in these competitions. No, the other chef stepped in when the unexpected happened. And he was able to do so without sacrificing his own responsibilities and without stress because he had planned his project carefully and used his time wisely.
That’s where I am today—needing to get things back in perspective, needing to do the things I have been called to do so that I have time and energy available when a true need arises. I want to be a good and faithful servant of the Lord, not one weighed in the balance and found wanting.