“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.” Ephesians 5:15-16
Quick, name everything you have to do today. If you’re anything like me, your heart rate just got a little bit quicker. I can name at least ten things on my list, and this is supposed to be an easy week!
Even when we try to pare down our days, they seem to fill up all too quickly, and we never question why. We live in a culture that praises the busy, for surely if you’re constantly doing, you must be important, needed, and successful. But what percent of your to-do list is made up of things that are glorifying to God?
It’s easy to think that we have control over our days, but they really never belonged to us in the first place. It’s so easy to get into the habit of busyness, just running from errand to errand without time for a breath, but Ephesians tells us to make the most of every opportunity, and I don’t think that’s what it refers to.
If you stop to think about it, which I admit I almost never do, it’s clear that all this busyness is getting in the way of our joy. The endless to-do lists that seem like the gateway to satisfaction often only lead to anxiety and stress when we fail to get it all done. So we run around like the proverbial chickens with our heads cut off, blocking out God’s voice in our hearts with all of the hustle.
It takes stillness and reflection to listen to God and take in what He’s trying to say. Some days it would take a flashing billboard for Him to get my attention! Just as you must rest a broken limb to allow it to heal, gospel growth is most fruitful when we stop doing all the time and let ourselves just be in God’s presence.
But this is so much easier said than done. There’s a reason busyness is so alluring. It makes us feel important and valuable, like we’re able to please everyone all at the same time. It spins tempting lies, telling us that we can do it all, make ourselves happy and satisfy ourselves. It runs Jesus right out of the picture.
We don’t live like we believe that He is the only one that brings contentment, that He provides completely for our needs, and that we don’t have to earn our status as His children. There’s nothing wrong with filling your days, but they must be filled with the right things first. It’s all about priorities.
If you picture a jar, you can fill that jar completely with sand, the incidental stuff that doesn’t matter. But once the sand reaches the top, there’s no room for rocks, the consequential things that hold weight, like your relationship with Jesus and your family and friends. We must put the rocks in first, and then you can fill the remaining space with sand.
See how that works? Our lives must be primarily focused on living out the gospel; everything else can just fill in the gaps. Busyness deserves caution because it’s all too easy to rely on it for our worth, striving to prove ourselves worthy of love. Jesus says, “I love you already. Just come to me, trust me, and rest.”