Stuart and I are busy people. People constantly say to us, “We don’t know how you two do it.” Look at our lives as we travel to different areas, preaching, speaking, praying, writing, listening, counseling, crying, laughing, giving, receiving, planning, getting sick, getting well, worrying, wondering, worshipping, and working hard. It’s busy stuff! But are we too busy? What does it mean to be too busy?
There seems to be a whole spiritual industry that has grown up. It is the “how to be un-busy” industry. There are books, CDs, T-shirts, and places to go to unwind. I understand why. People are burning out, and we need to help. But to lay the reason at the feet of busyness alone is dangerous. You can be busy, very busy, or over busy. On the other hand, you can be just downright idle. Stuart has said for decades that ministry affords you the grand opportunity to either be so busy you burn out, or downright lazy and check out! So what’s the balance?
All this emphasis on being too busy is okay, unless we are being so busy reorganizing, analyzing, going to small group meetings about all of our busyness, we have forgotten something. Busyness isn’t bad in itself! If you’re being un-busy when you ought to be busy that’s bad. You don’t burn out by being busy with the work He has given you to do for one reason: That “busy burden” is easy and light because His grand cosmic shoulder is under it! If He has given you something He wants you busy doing, it will not wear you out.
“Faithful is He that calls you who also will do it!” If He has called you to a hard day’s work, He will be waiting in the dawn with the energy you need to accomplish it. He is the energy for the work at hand. He said to the apostle Paul, “I will show you how many things you must suffer for my sake.” He didn’t say, “I’ll show you how many holidays you’ll need or hours off in the week to finish the course set for you.”
Surely the whole thing rests on what we are busy doing! Jesus was busy. Look at His life. For 30 years, He was busy doing a tradesman’s job, running a small business in a small town, supporting a large family as the eldest son of a widowed mother. Then He went into “full-time” ministry. Was He busy? Follow Him through the Gospels. See Him sit at the well, exhausted, “weary in the way.”
But you can be weary in well-doing and rejuvenated in spirit. As was Jesus, who lost all interest in the lunch His body needed badly when, He out of His tiredness, ministered anyway to the Samaritan woman. There is inner food that is the most important nourishment sometimes. You get your energy from the people you help.
To rest isn’t always to rest the body first, though it might be. For each, the inner rest that energizes us for the work He has called us to do is the Sabbath of the heart that should happen every seven days of the week, 24 hours of the day and night. It is the tranquility of order in the midst of chaos, the whispers of His grace heard by our soul above the cacophony of the world and its troubles, the church and its turmoil, and our personal inner foes flee. It is the “yes” of the soul to the call of Christ. “Yes, Lord! Anytime, anyplace, anywhere!” That’s where the joy that is our strength lies. That’s where the rest is to be found.
Get into the habit of receiving busyness of the day from Jesus’ hand, the earlier the better. Every day—the Sabbath included. This will mean you cannot be “too busy.” He will not allow that. It comes down to how well we hear His voice as we follow Jesus’ example in Mark 1:35 and “come early” before Him.
In His Love,
Just Between Us Magazine