It’s about time. You’re never on time. I wish I had more time. I can’t be late.I need more time. I need more hours in the day. Time is money. And so it goes… Are you timed out? Is there a right kind of busy?
For some busyness has become a virtue or their badge of significance. 75% of Americans say they are too busy most of the time. What about you?
Our busyness can run our lives and damage our relationships. We are busy and Jesus was busy too, but His busyness didn’t hurt others. He was in such high demand that at times he didn’t have time to eat. Sound familiar?
All of us have times and seasons when we cannot avoid being busy. Having too many choices, the blurring of work boundaries and technology all play a part in our busyness.Being too busy with the wrong stuff hinders us from what’s most important in life
The more important question is what we are busy with and why? Our busyness can hurt ourselves and those we care about. Here are a few preventative realities that we can learn from the life of Jesus.
Take Time Out
Because Jesus knew what was most important and how to prioritize He could say no. He also knew the importance of taking time out to be alone with God. There was a rhythm to the way He lived. Jesus would go away to a lonely place to pray and then re-engage in mission with those in need. He encouraged the apostles to do the same thing beckoning them in Mark 6:31 to “come with me to a quiet place and get some rest.”
If we’re not careful we can become so rushed and preoccupied that we will settle for a mediocre faith and life. Author John Ortberg said, “If we want to follow someone, we can’t go faster than the one who is leading.”
“Jesus was born with nothing, lived with little and died with nothing. His simplicity was not accidental. He chose to live simply.” Richard Swenson
What Jesus said lacked value is precisely what the world chases after – wealth, power, and status. Our life does not consist of the abundance of things we possess. Luke 12:15 If our busyness is a by- product of the material pursuit of trying to keep up our contentment will be an elusive carrot.
The Right Kind of Busy
There is a right kind busy. Some have called it a ‘holy busyness’ that is oriented towards God. Jesus’ life mission statement of “everything I do pleases the Father” (John 5:30) was reflected in everything He said and did. Hear the hard working words of the evangelist, church planter and manual laborer the apostle Paul:
No, I worked harder than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me. 1 Corinthians 15:10. Paul knew his holy busyness came from the grace of God.
To this end I labor, struggling with all His energy, which so powerfully works in me. Colossians 1:29.
Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God. 2 Corinthians 3:5 Strength and determination begins with God, not with what we do.
When we look at the life of Christ for answers, we can see that having His priorities in order didn’t mean Jesus wasn’t busy. “Jesus often had much to do, but He never did it in a way that severed the life-giving connection between Him and the Father. Jesus never did it in a way that interfered with his ability to give love when love was called for.” John Ortberg
There is a huge difference between being purposefully busy—the sort of busy that provides fulfillment and seeks to accomplish the good work we’ve been called to than being rushed, distracted, and weary.
Kevin DeYoung put it this way, “The busyness that’s bad is not the busyness of work, but the busyness that works hard at the wrong things.”
We can reduce our destructive busyness and develop a right kind of busy – one that shows love and compassion to those around us rather focusing on our personal ‘to do lists.’ May our busyness reflect what’s most important by choosing the eternal over the temporal and taking hold of the promise of Jesus in Mathew 11:28, “Come onto me, all who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.”