Addicted to Busyness

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

On the college campus where I’m a pastor, I have a little game I like to play. It goes like this: I simply ask a student, “How are you doing today?” and then I wait for their response. The funny part is that 9 times out of 10 the answer goes almost exactly like this: “I am sooooo busy today! In fact, I’m headed to the library now, and then I’ve got several meetings tonight! I’m sooooo busy!” It’s become a running joke that I’ll just go ahead and finish the sentence before they can even get it out.

Now, you’re probably not in college yet, so how does this apply to you? Well, one of the things we have been talking about is how we daily tell ourselves lies, and what it would be like to replace those lies with the truth.

I think one of the lies that we start to believe at a very early age (especially here in America) is this: “My busyness is proof of how important I am” or “If I stop doing so much then maybe I won’t have the life that I want.” So, you might even be in 8th grade and already feel the pressure to build your resume so that you’ll be able to get into the right college.

Is it wrong to be busy? Well, no. I personally like to be busy. I am probably more productive when I have more on my plate. But, we can easily fall prey to the lie that busyness is equal to our value, or even worse that our busyness equals our holiness. The truth is that you can be extremely busy, and even doing really great things…but have a heart that is the praise of men rather than God. In our Christian life it’s easy to think if we are simply doing a bunch of Christian stuff then we are okay. But that’s far from the truth.

Listen to Jean Fleming’s experience in her book, Between Walden and the Whirlwind: “In the twenty-some years I’ve been a Christian, I’ve received instruction on and been challenged to read my Bible daily, pray without ceasing, do in-depth Bible study regularly, memorize scripture, meditate day and night, fellowship with other believers, always be ready to give an answer to the questioning unbeliever, give to missions and to the poor, work as unto the Lord, use my time judiciously, give thanks in all circumstances, serve the body using my gifts to edify others, keep a clean house as a testimony, practice gracious hospitality, submit to my husband, love and train my children, disciple other women, manage finances as a good steward, involve myself in school and community activities, develop and maintain non-Christian friendships, stimulate my mind with careful reading, improve my health through diet and exercise, color coordinate my wardrobe, watch my posture, and ‘simplify my life by baking my own bread.’”

Whether you are busy or not isn’t the question. The question is why you do what you do. A good test for whether or not your busyness has become too important to you is whether or not you are able to rest. Can you stop from your work long enough to be satisfied in the work of Jesus?

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