To the Max

keep-calm-and-live-life-to-the-max-smallI was talking recently with a father of nine. His youngest are now about junior high age. He had an interesting perspective on the difficulty level of raising different amounts of children. “When you have your first kid, it’s all you can handle. You’re maxed out,” he said. “Then when you have your second kid, you’re maxed out. When you have your third kid, you’re maxed out. It’s all you can do just to keep up. With four kids, you’re maxed out. With five, you’re maxed out. It’s all you can handle.” And so on. Actually he might have only gone up to four and then said, “That’s how it just keeps on going.”

What’s going on with that? Clearly there’s more going on in this guy’s life with nine kids than there was with one. Clearly there’s more going on with two kids than with one. Did his capacities just keep on increasing? Did his need for sleep keep on decreasing? I doubt it. Probably there were some changes in his personal priorities, some willingness to pursue his own interests less, so that he could spend more time and energy on the kids. But surely that cannot account for all of the “more going on” that happened as his family’s size increased. It seems like there must have just been a lot going on that he wasn’t even aware of, and that group of “things going on that he wasn’t aware of” increased as more kids came along. Nevertheless, he remained engaged in as much as he possibly could all along the way: he was “maxed out.” (It would be interesting to find out whether his wife would describe it the same way he did, but if she would, I bet this analysis would apply to her as well.)

I think it makes sense that there is a certain amount of stuff that I can be engaged in at any point in my life…and that God would put the situations into my life at each point that would “max out” my engagement capacity.

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men (Col. 3:23).

The parable of the talents also seems to say that God has given us the right amount of business to keep us busy doing His business.

What does this mean? Well, if it’s true that God has put just the right amount of stuff in my life to max out my engagement capacity, then if I’m over my capacity, there must be something I’m engaged in that isn’t for me right now. Conversely, if I don’t feel maxed out, there must be something in my life that I need to be dealing with, I need to be engaged in, that I’m not. Think about it. Are you overworked or underworked? Are you over-engaged or under-engaged?


I’ve always enjoyed putting puzzles together because the bigger the puzzle, the greater the challenge! I’ll confess, I’m not one for suspense. I always had to know what the finished picture was going to look like before I could even begin.

Have you ever played with a puzzle that you pulled out from the archaic pile in the closet, only to come up with 999 of the 1000 pieces? You’re no longer happy that you put together 999 pieces; you’re mad because that 1 piece is missing!

Right now, I’m staring at that almost completed puzzle and am frustrated because I just can’t figure out where that last piece is, or even what the finished picture will look like. It’s missing an important piece – and one I’d rather have in my little box so I can finish my puzzle. I mean, I have things to do, people to see, a life to live, right?! Why does God have me sitting here staring at a blank hole in the picture, with a huge question mark in it’s place?

Because instead of a ‘?‘ I’m beginning to see the true attributes of WHO God is, based solely on just that – Who He is. It is easy to come to a realization of who God is by what He gives; but, what if He takes? Where do you stand if you’re relying on those gifts to shape who God is to you, and they crumble under your feet?

Jesus + Nothing = Everything.

Even though it looks like there is a piece missing – my picture has already been completed because it is Jesus who holds that piece. He’s the Author & Finisher of my Faith with the timing of completion totally up to Him; and one glorious day we’ll all be able to see our finished pictures. Won’t that be wonderful?

Jeremiah 29:11 says For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.