Corrie Ten Boom was noted as saying, “If the devil cannot make you sin, he will make you busy.” It’s interesting that this quote came to my mind as I looked at my calendar and remembered this article is due in a few hours. I had good intentions of writing earlier, but I was just too BUSY.
I like “busy.” Busy makes me feel important; needed; valued. I often joke that my life verse is John 12:37, “What you are going to do, do quickly.” If I am in a hurry, I can be even busier. Right?
“Busyness” has a negative impact upon the Church. Eric Geiger and Thom Rainer wrote a great book for the church, a few years ago, entitled “Simple Church.” Many churches are declining and even dying, not because they are not busy. In fact, their busyness is a key factor in their decline. They said: “Busyness is great disguise for the lack of life. The complexity is a great cover up. Church can sometimes be a fancy coffin. We have become content, being busy.”
Martha is a biblical character we often speak of concerning busyness. Martha is in every church. We love her. She is that person that the pastor knows he can call on in a tight spot. She is reliable. She is a “yes” no matter what the question is. Committees hinge on her every move. Ministries depend on her. But sometimes, she can be distracted by the important, but neglectful of the essential. This is the curse of busyness.
It can become worse. We may even harbor secret resentment toward those who are not as “busy” as we are. Then we feel we must be unappreciated by others. When we do finally slow down, we feel guilty for relaxing or taking time off.
Inevitably, burnout may be the result. Burnout is not a badge of honor. Too many have left the church never to turn back, guilty of the sin of busyness. We need to be reminded we are not indispensable. The work will carry on without us.
In the church, busyness seems like a good thing. Multiple opportunities for service. Multiple ministries and programs to reach more people. But all this busyness is sometimes just busyness for busyness’ sake. We can find ourselves on a life and ministry treadmill, where we are very active and moving but going nowhere.
We are like a restaurant that offers a multiple buffet from hamburgers to seafood to pasta. You want it, they have it. But in their attempt to offer it all, most of it is mediocre at best. Those who have the best offering usually offer just a few things.
Busyness keeps us from time with family. Busyness stands in the way of meaningful personal conversations. Busyness gives us an excuse for not praying, reading the Bible, and witnessing. Busyness is the reason we fail to see the sunset, the good in others and the need to reach out to someone “just because” they crossed our mind.
Let’s repent of the sin of busyness. Remember, it is okay to say “no.” Focus on what will matter years from now, not just this moment. I plan to do that as soon as I finish this article.