Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Glorification of Busy

You call a friend on the phone to see if they'd like to get together this weekend. They answer...

“Oh, I'd love to! But, Jacob has three birthday parties on Saturday plus his soccer game. We don't really want to go to the birthday parties, but well, each of these kids came to his party last month so we kind of feel obligated to go. Anyway, Jason is working that day so I have to do all the running around by myself. I'm sure by the time I do all that, go to the grocery store, get my nails done, and work out at the gym, I'll be exhausted!”

Why do we answer like this? Why can’t we say, “I’d love to but I already have a lot going on. Maybe an evening next week?”

We are a busy society - no one’s going to deny that. But we’ve moved past being busy. We now glorify it. 

Not only do we cram our schedules full of activities, but we also have to make sure our friends know how busy we are. We have to give them the list of everything going on. We have to make sure they know how over-the-top busy we are.

As Christians, we even like to spiritualize our busy-ness. Have you ever thought or heard something like this…

“I just don’t have time to pray regularly! I mean, after all, I already sing in the choir, serve as an usher, teach a children’s class, and go to small group every week. How can I fit in one more thing?”

Let’s go back to my earlier question – why do we glorify being busy? Here are some possible reasons…

  • If people know how busy we are, they won’t ask us to help with something that might make us uncomfortable. And yet Jesus taught, “Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you” (Matthew 5:42).
  • Proclaiming our busy-ness makes us appear important; it makes us feel valuable. Jesus’ words deny this, however. We are valuable because God made us. Period. “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” (Matthew 6:26).
  • We’re uncomfortable with being still. We pack our lives full so we don’t have to stop and think about what’s missing and what’s important. The ancient Hebrew songwriter knew better, though. He wrote, “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).
  • Our friends will judge us if we aren’t busy enough. It’s become a competition to see who can be the busiest. We only need to focus on one thing though – rather than compete with our friends, we need to focus on what God calls us to do. King Solomon, in all his wisdom, eventually realized this, “Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man” (Ecclesiastes 12:13). Moses knew it too when he wrote, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength” (Deuteronomy 6:4-5).

Mary Beth Dahl wrote on her blog this week…

“There is a purpose that we are here. There is a reason that this is the age in which we live. There is a plan that involves a hope and a future.


We have within us the ability to fully live life, to completely love others, and to introduce the world to hope...

Now is the time to live our lives with purpose.”

She wrote these words as a counter to a lifestyle focused on random sex, partying, and drugs. I think they also counter a lifestyle focused on the glorification of busy-ness as well, especially as we look at the response to this lifestyle in the next few articles.

This article is the first in a series. Continue on…

Why do you think we glorify busy-ness? I listed four possibilities earlier – what can you add to the list?

1 comment:

  1. All the busy-ness is so unnecessary- all we have to do is stop and think about what is most important in life. Then make sure those get done and add other activities as we can without compromising the important things. Family time, prayer,time to digest what is happening in our lives and what we are learning is what is important. Coaches are trying to look important by lining up too many games and practices, Moms should get off the phone more and kids should have limited screen time. I hope all this is a fad and will die down so everyone can finally get the amount of sleep they are supposed to be getting.