Busy is a Four Letter Word

Luke 5: 16

But Jesus Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray.

This topic just keeps popping back up. I think the reason is because we do lead very busy lives. Because of that, we have to carefully manage our lives. It seems to me that in simpler times this might not have been such a big issue but then when I think of Jesus I have to reconsider. Jesus was the busiest guy ever. He knew that he only had a short time in which to completely and radically change the world. He had a lot of work to do and just a short time to do it. Worse, he had to walk everywhere he went which took up a lot of his time. Still, he always managed to slip away to be with his Father. His ministry depended on that time with the Father. Could he have done the things he did if he didn’t go to the well himself and fill up?

I think this quiet time away must have been important because he taught his disciples this strategy. Look what he told them in Mark 6: 31, “Come away by yourselves to a lonely place and rest a while.” The passage said that there were so many people coming to them and they were so busy that they didn’t even have time to eat. Well, if they were that busy and had that many demands on their time, how could they afford to go away by themselves? How could they afford the time off?

Jesus taught them by his example as well and through the recorded history of the Bible, he is teaching us this lesson today. We see him living his advice in Mark 6: 46 where it says, “And after bidding them farewell, He departed to the mountain to pray.” He led by example showing his disciples that if they were going to do anything great in life, they must prioritize their prayer time.

I have noticed that even ministers have this problem. We can get so busy doing the work of God that we forget that our time with Him is the most important. Everyone has deadlines. Everyone has pressure and stress. Yet some people learn how to get this piece into their schedule every day. Is it simply a matter of setting it as a priority? Maybe we don’t love God enough. Maybe we need to meditate on our feelings about God. The best thing is to do it for a period of time and see how much smoother life is.

We have worn our busyness like a badge for years. People brag about how busy they are. Well, I am a recovering busy person. Yes, I am still busy but I am being healed of the obsession of it. The excuses I used to use to justify my out of balance lifestyle just don’t work anymore. Now when I hear other people talking about how busy they are and how they just can’t do something, in the back of my mind I hear, “There is healing for that.” The solution to this problem may be different for different folks but ultimately I think we just have to do whatever is necessary to unburden our lives so that there is time for God in our daily schedule.

What do you think? Are you stressed and overburdened? Jesus said that he came to take our heavy burdens. When we walk with him daily, he takes the weight and makes our burden light. If you are really that busy, then you need Jesus. You need a whole bunch more of him than you are getting right now. Take some time. Honestly, you can find a moment if you are intentional about it. Go talk with Jesus and ask him to help you with your load. Make a deal with him that you will give him some of your tasks and you will spend time in prayer. I promise you will be glad if you do.

No Shame

Romans 1: 16

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

Paul was definitely a good evangelist. He did share the good news everywhere he went. I wonder why lots of us don’t tell the good news any more than we do. I think in a sense we are ashamed. Perhaps we are not ashamed of the gospel per se but we are embarrassed or ashamed of sounding like a Jesus freak. Maybe were are afraid of rejection. Paul certainly wasn’t, though, and life could be pretty dangerous for his exhortation of the gospel.

Paul had a revelation of the power of the gospel. Maybe that is what made him so bold and me so timid. Or do we get so caught up in the busyness of our life that we don’t take a moment to be concerned over anyone else. Looming on my horizon is my next twenty to do items and the three big projects sitting on my desk. What will happen in eternity if I get none of that done? I mean, how important are they really? Are my deadlines arbitrary? Does any of it matter that much? When I think of this in light of the eternity of someone’s soul I feel a bit embarrassed. Is it really too much for me to take five minutes to ask my banker if he knows the saving power of the gospel?

You know, I heard a good story the other day about a woman who took the time to notice someone else and when she did she saw that other person suffering. She offered to pray for the woman who’s countenance was forlorn. You know what? Her bravery afforded her the opportunity to meet someone’s need. But I am too busy. Maybe I walked right by that same woman and never even looked at her.

Lord God, give us all the courage of our convictions. Give us joy bubbling up out of us that begs to be shared. Help us to be like Paul and see not the consequences to ourselves but the significance to others. Help us to share the power of the gospel with those who are in need.

Busy, Busy Bee

Psalm 46: 10

Cease striving and know that I am God. 

Well, I’ve done it again. I’ve allowed myself to get busy. Now to some of you that might sound good. Well, I do like to be busy and to have a lot on my plate. I like having a lot going on. But here is the thing, sometimes I get out of balance and get so busy that in the end I find myself not very effective, certainly not efficient. Always I look around and find that I am trying to do everything in my own strength again. Then, as now, I have to stop and put the pieces back in place. For me that means pulling out my calendar and scheduling my time. It means analyzing my work time to determine what I am doing with my time and it almost always means I have to clean up my diet and workout schedule too.

In the United States these days we wear our busyness like a badge of honor. Well, not me, not any longer anyway. In my life, “busyness” invariably means I have stopped living in grace in favor of living in effort. In fact, being “busy” has become a bit of a profanity to me because our Father has already corrected me in this and loudly. When I find I am beginning to feel the stress of too much to do and not enough time, then I know it is time for a checkup. You see, it always means that I have stopped leaning on Jesus, the Father and the Holy Spirit to be the work horses in my life and have put all of that heavy load back onto my shoulders. 

What did I find this time? My devotional life is nowhere as strong as it was, my Bible time is weak, prayer time limited, my workouts have fallen to almost nothing and my diet stinks. I have more and more to do so I am drawing further and further into myself instead of reaching out to the source of all strength, power and helpfulness. I am no longer yoked with Jesus. Heck, I am not even including Him in the emails. What?! I am working hard at getting little done. So, I repent – turn and go in a different direction.

I have personally experienced and also witnessed in others that we can actually get more done when we first connect with God. So instead of going straight to my computer, I must first go to my Bible. Time with the trinity must supersede work if I wish to be as effective as possible. Jesus really will do the heavy lifting if I will let him. Let’s make “busy” a bad word by devoting our hearts and time first and foremost to our Lord and savior. Let’s put the entirety of our lives in his loving hands, even our work, even our busyness. When we begin to tell people that we are busy, when we begin to think it and when we first begin to feel the stress of too much to do and not enough time, let us run, not walk, to the throne room of God and lay down our heavy burdens in humble repentance. Let’s turn our busyness into worship instead of it being a source of pride. Let’s get more done in less time while spending all of that time with the Lord. Now that sounds good, doesn’t it?

Success in the Word

Joshua 1: 8

This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.

There is a very good reason that this devotional is called the Word of the Day and why it begins with God speaking. Each one of us has a definition of success for our lives and each of us aspires to attain that success. Every one of us wishes to be prosperous in various ways. It would be ridiculous for us to be otherwise. Joshua was no different from us in this respect. He wanted to be successful at the task which God had given him. However, he was a little overwhelmed too. His job was to fill the shoes vacated when Moses died. One can imagine that Joshua was a bit concerned about his ability to lead the people into the Promised Land. So, God gave him this advice. Keep the Word of God in your mouth; meditate on it day and night. 

So, I send you God’s Word every day because I know that it has power to positively impact your life. The text that I write is for the purpose of elucidating what God has said. My writing is meant to explain a bit more of what is imbedded in the scripture and sometimes to bring out background information that we may not all have. And sometimes, it is meant to bring to you a revelation that God has shown me during my studies. However, it is not the most important part of the devotional. It is my intense desire that what I write blesses you but what God wrote is much bigger. 

I realize that you are busy people. Everyone is very busy these days. I also understand that sometimes my comments get long and that you may not feel you have time for the full text. I can appreciate that. I read daily devotionals too so I encounter the same emotions. My advice is that you open the Word of the Day devotional email everyday and read the scripture. Look to see what God is speaking to you even if you do not have time to read what I have to say. I am not offended. His Word ministers life. It will generally take you less than 2 minutes to read the scripture and I think it is pretty safe to assume we can all scrape together 2 minutes to receive a Word deposit from God. The Word is our secret to success so we need to have those deposits daily. And then throughout the day perhaps that verse will turn over and over in your mind so that you receive the inspiration of the Word.

I want you to read the full text of the Word of the Day everyday but that is not always possible so just allow yourself to ingest that most important part. Read the “Word” of the Day, the scripture, and let Dad minister its deep meaning to you.