In our culture and in modern times being busy is normal. There is nothing wrong with being busy unless, of course, it seeps into your soul and pushes out the things that matter. Corrie ten Boom, a holocaust survivor and author of The Hiding Place said it this way:
“If the devil cannot make us bad, he will make us busy.”
At cfParis We are currently in a series called THE WAY. This last Sunday we explored the idea that we need to be intentional about giving time to the Way. One of the lines from Pastor Cory's message was "We don't need more time, just more of what matters."
Jesus was busy but not hurried. He walked slowly through the crowds. He was constantly sought after and pulled on from every direction but He intentionally made time for the things that mattered. He didn't heal everyone. He didn't eat at everyone's house. But He did take the time to focus on things that mattered.
One of the things that stands out to me is how often He would get alone. He took time for Himself so He could fellowship with His Father. Before launching into His ministry He spent forty days out in the wilderness alone. Scripture says that He often withdrew to places by Himself (Luke 5:16). One time when he went to be alone, someone scouted Him. The word spread. The crowds found Him. Yet, instead of sending them away or shouting "just leave Me alone", He took time to minister to their needs. See, I told you He walked slow through the crowds. Still, He didn't ignore His need for solitude with the Father. He sent His disciples on ahead in a boat so that He could be alone. I don't even think He had a plan on how to reunite with the disciples at that point. He just needed to get alone.
Dallas Willard once pointed out to John Ortberg, as recounted in the book Soul Keeping: Caring For the Most Important Part of You, this idea about busyness:
Dallas pointed out to me once that there is a world of difference between being busy and being hurried. Being busy is an outward condition, a condition of the body. It occurs when we have many things to do. Busyness is inevitable in modern culture. If you are alive today in North America, you are a busy person. . . . Being hurried is an inner condition, a condition of the soul. It means to be so preoccupied with myself and my life that I am unable to be fully present with God, with myself, and with other people. I am unable to occupy the present moment. Busyness migrates to hurry when we let it squeeze God out of our lives. . . . I cannot live in the kingdom of God with a hurried soul. I cannot rest in God with a hurried soul.
There is a difference between being busy and being hurried. When was the last time you took some time to be alone to fellowship with the Father. Sometimes we need to get alone for selfish reasons, just for our own peace of mind. But always we need to get alone to commune with God. The soul not only needs it, it longs for it! Get alone and pray. Get alone and listen. Get alone and read. Get alone and worship.
I like to think of it like a glass of water. When we commit to the Way, Jesus washes our glass. He pours out the dirty water and washes the glass. Then He puts His Water in us. As we live our lives we drink for this Water and give this Water to others. Before too long our glass will be empty if we do not go back to the Source for a refill :).
Be busy, by all means, do not get bored, but let's all do a better job at tending to our souls. Take time for more things that matter.
We should look to people like Susanna Wesley for inspiration. She told her ten kids that if her apron was over her head she was in prayer with God and was not to be disturbed. She made time in the midst of a hard life for something she knew mattered most.
I have a feeling that the only way we can keep all our busyness from draining our souls is to give our souls time to commune with God. This is one of the big reasons why community groups matter and why corporate worship matters and why DNA groups matter and why engaging with other believers matters. How can you intentionally spend time on things that matter most?