Busy is a Four-Letter Word

Luke 5: 16

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

Jesus set a priority on spending time to pray and fellowship with his father. I wonder, though, how he had time to slip away to the mountains or the wilderness for fellowship time. Most pastors I know are busy, very busy. Jesus saw all of the demand. He saw the plethora of hurting people. And he, of all people knew he had the means to help everyone of them. People were clamoring after him for his words, his prayers and his healing touch. I just don’t understand how, among all the people pulling on him and all the needs of the people, the people for whom he came to earth, I don’t see how he was able to sneak away for private time.

I called my mom the other day, just to catch up. During the conversation I asked if she had received the document she requested of me. She replied, no, she hadn’t. I was surprised she had not called me and asked if I had sent it. She said she figured with all that I have going on that I was just too busy to get to it. My response, “How sad!” This is the state our culture has come to. This has become the norm. And I think it is pathetic. I had sent the document, and I told her that I am never too busy to do something for her. Yeah, I’ve got stuff going on. We all do, but I also know something about priorities and profanities, and I am here to say that “busy” has become, to me, a profane vulgarity.

I saw a friend of mine from the YMCA recently and remarked that I had not seen her teaching any classes recently. She told me that she had scaled back on her schedule and that teaching Y classes was something she had to cut out. This woman works a full-time job and has a family. She began to feel that she had too many balls in the air, too many things on her plate, and was not able to give the priority items in her life the time and attention they deserve. I admire her for this. I believe in doing all things well. Some of us, many of us in fact, have taken on so much that we do nothing with excellence. I admire this woman for figuring out what is important, like Jesus did, and doing those things.

Jesus corrected Martha when she let herself be overwhelmed with the many “to do’s”. He pointed out that Mary was doing what was important, that she had her priorities right. Rather than running around trying to do everything, Mary was sitting at Jesus’ feet fellowshipping and learning from him. Most of us are too busy to give Jesus time. We are Marthas and the worst part of it is that we are proud of it.

I hear people practically every day talking about how busy they are. Some people boast about it wearing their busyness as a badge of honor. Well, all I see is a scarlet B in the place of the scarlet A. I see an inability to prioritize and properly invest one’s time. And I have a reason to know about this. I was the worst of us all. I worked all of the time and do you know what I accomplished? My health declined significantly. I gained weight. My joints hurt all the time. All of my relationships suffered including the one with he whom I declare that I love most of all. Pshaw! If you love me, show me! People have a right to judge our fruit instead of our words. That is what Jesus told them to do. If you say you love someone, that they are important to you, then show them by spending time with them.

Busy can be a blessing. I am thankful I have things to do. I really am. I like being busy. It is exhilarating and makes me feel fully alive. However, it is also a curse. Societally it has become acceptable to be “busy.” Busy can be sin though, and every one of us needs to hear this. If you can’t manage your tasks and still have time for the priorities, then you really should consider adjusting your schedule. Do like my friend did and cut something out of your schedule. I hope what you cut out isn’t God, though, and honestly, just between you and me, He is usually the first one to suffer. “Oh, I have time for God,” we might say, but the truth is that your prayer time is in the shower and on the drive to work. Maybe you are going slack on your obligations at church. Maybe your social life is growing, and that is a blessing, but your most important priorities are suffering.

Only you and Father can do the kind of heart work needed to ascertain if you have lost your balance. If so, you can always have a do over. I always tell people, “Tomorrow is January 1st.” We can have a virtual January 1 anytime we need it. Today is a great day to readjust but if you don’t feel you’ve gotten it right today, then you have tomorrow and the next day. I don’t want you to be like I was and frankly, I don’t want to be like I was either. I learned a rather painful lesson. Now, if I should I let the tasks of my busy schedule overwhelm the priorities of my life, I very much hope, and expect, my Father to correct me. I remember my pastor’s brother, who is also and ordained minister, commenting that I must like how busy and overwhelmed I was. Well, he had a point. If there wasn’t something in it that gratified me, I wouldn’t have maintained that insane schedule.

Our busyness takes many forms but if you cannot be a person of your word then you might be too busy. If you frequently have to call off or reschedule plans with friends, then you might be too busy. If you hear the words, “I’m just so busy,” coming out of your mouth, then you might be too busy. I encourage you to look at the substance of your life. Are your friends and family suffering because you are “so busy”? Are you becoming unreliable or often unavailable? Take an inventory and ask yourself if you are doing yourself justice. Does your life need some calibration? Where are your priorities and are you doing them justice? Are you serving busyness instead of faithfulness?

These are all questions you can take to the Father. Ask him if you are responding to a brokenness inside you. He can heal those broken parts. Satan would love you to be so busy that you have no time for the Lord or His work. Satan wants you to damage your health and your relationships. Look very honestly at your life and be sure that you are staying within the refuge of your Father. Be honest with Father about where you are in your life and ask Him to help you readjust your schedule if need be. Don’t let busyness overwhelm your life but rather let the love and anointing of God care for you and for all the pieces of your life. Go to the wilderness and pray. Let Father speak into your life about all the demands on you.