Busy? Read this
August 2, 2010
by Dr. Phil Goeffrion, Albion Evangelical Free Church, Cokato

Every twice in a while, I read something that effectively penetrates my acquired layers of self-protection and self-justification. Not long ago, it happened as I was following the “Daily Office” by Peter Scazzero.

He suggested that Jesus moved slowly, not striving or rushing, waiting patiently through his teen and young adult years to reveal himself as the Messiah. Even then, he did not rush to be recognized, but waited patiently for his Father’s timing for his short ministry.

“Why is it then,” he asks, “that we hate ‘slow’ when God appears to delight in it?” Scazzero then shares some thoughts from Eugene Peterson, who suggests two possible reasons for busyness:

• I am busy because I am vain. What better way to appear important than to be busy? Perhaps the incredible hours, the crowded schedule, and the heavy demands that are on my time will convince anyone who notices that I am significant. After all, if I go to a doctor’s office and there is no one waiting, and I see through a half-opened door the physician reading a book, I wonder if he’s any good. Right?

The fact that I live in a society with harassed conditions and packed schedules that are perceived as evidences of importance affects my values and judgments. So I develop a crowded schedule and live in harassed conditions so others will notice and deem me significant.

Been there? Done that? I have.

If this isn’t the case with you, perhaps a second possibility will resonate:

• I am, busy because I am lazy. I let others decide what I will do instead of deliberately deciding myself. C. S. Lewis repeatedly reiterated that only lazy people work hard. Could this be? By lazily abdicating the crucial work of deciding and directing, establishing values, and setting goals, I allow other people to do it for me.

Been there? Done that? I have.

Are you a busy person? What is motivating that busyness? I hope it is love for God, desire to provide for ourselves, and to serve others. But I suspect that sometimes it is because we are vain or lazy. Is that possible?

The antidote is this: slow down and live more attentively to the voice of Jesus. Ask God to give you the grace to do one thing at a time, without rushing or hurrying, savoring the sacred in whatever you do, be it large or small. Petition the Holy Spirit within you to empower you as you move from one activity to the next.

Busy people, listen up! Let’s be as concerned with being as we are with doing. Let’s acknowledge that meaningful doing flows out of authentic being.

“Wait for the Lord. Be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” (Psalm 27.14).