Busyness, in many respects, is a part of modern culture, and it is a part of all aspects of life. It affects professionals, laborers, and even home bodies. If you are over five and under 90, you probably find yourself constantly doing something. If it’s not work, its hobbies, or TV, or family, or friends.
Some responsibilities are good, but when is it too much? How is it that we can have tweens who are totally stressed out, doing a hundred different things between school, sports and extra-curricular activities?
This even affects pastors, and if we aren’t paying attention, our service for God can overtake the time we are supposed to be spending with Him. The pandemic made things even worse.
Our service for God can overtake the time we are supposed to be spending with Him.
One of the potential positive things to come out of the global shutdown was the ability to spend more time with God. But do you know what? Even though this was talked about, I know very few people who took advantage of this and found this as a time of spiritual retreat. For most, I suspect that we just found a different kind of busyness.
For someone who was knee deep in burnout before the pandemic, especially in an industry that needed to do things differently, this took things to a whole new level. Pastors were retiring or changing positions at a rapid rate. For me, recovery during the sabbatical took longer than I had hoped or would have expected.
The Lord has been talking to me about this quite a bit during this time away from the church.
For the couple of summers, I worked on the assembly line at the General Motors plant in Framingham. This was a financial blessing during school, but working on the assembly line was a pretty dark place. Often I would go to work and wonder what it was like outside. Was it sunny? Raining? Beautiful or dreary? And then doing the same work, moment by moment, day after day… working there was tougher mentally than I could have imagined.
What I found shocking was how quickly my mind went back to the same place the next summer after 9 months away. The rhythm of life requires the Christian to be spending time with God. But how is this possible with all the busyness we have in today’s culture?
The rhythm of life requires the Christian to be spending time with God. But how is this possible with all the busyness we have in today’s culture?
As I come out the other end of the sabbatical, and mentally begin the transition of re-acclimating, one of the things that God has made clear is that there are some things that need to change.
Our leadership team (hopefully) has been reading the book “Emotionally Healthy Leaders,” and although I don’t treat it as the Word of God, there is a lot of helpful information in there. One of those is about our call to sabbath (or spending time resting in the Lord).
I have led many retreats, and seen many, many people experience the mountaintop experience (a close encounter with God). Most say they wish they could have that experience all the time, but few (if any) have been willing to make adjustments to their schedule in order to draw closer to God.
While reading Jeremiah 29, God tells us that “You will see me and find me when you search for me with all of your heart – Jer. 29:13 CSB.”
Spurgeon spoke about what should be expected. First, God must be our objective to find. Second, this seeking should happen with every part of us. And the third point is this. “It signifies awakened energy. It includes the getting out of that dull, sluggish, indifferent spirit that seems so common. Indifference to eternal realities seems to impregnate the air we breathe in this world. We are busy about a thousand things but sluggish about our souls.”
“It signifies awakened energy. It includes the getting out of that dull, sluggish, indifferent spirit that seems so common. Indifference to eternal realities seems to impregnate the air we breathe in this world. We are busy about a thousand things but sluggish about our souls.”Spurgeon Study Bible (Holman Bible Publishers: Nashville, TN) P. 1028.
What is your priority when it comes to eternal things? When it comes to your relationship with God? If you think that you are young and you have time, you are missing out on the fullness of life that God has for you. You are stressing in ways that God has not intended for you to. And you may miss out on blessings that God has intended for you to receive if you were closer to Him.
What is your priority when it comes to eternal things? When it comes to your relationship with God?
Francis Chan, in his book “Until Unity,” constantly is asking the reader to stop and spend some time thinking about what He is speaking about.
If God has told us that we will find Him if we seek Him wholeheartedly, then what would it take for us to be able to do that? As I have said to many people throughout the years, and God has been saying to me recently, “More than just serving Me, I want you to spend time with me. I love you, not just what you can do for Me.”
“More than just serving Me, I want you to spend time with me. I love you, not just what you can do for Me.”
So what are you doing to do about it? I know that I am looking at what I need to do to reprioritize my life to make sure when I get back that my personal relationship with Christ does not become an afterthought! My recommendation, if you don’t feel that your relationship with God is vibrant, is to spend some time with Him and look at how you can make changes to make this a reality.
We never know how long we will have the opportunity, and I know that I don’t want to hear at the end of my life, “I never knew you. Depart from me (Matt. 7:23 CSB),” because I never had allowed my relationship with Him to be intimate. I desire to hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant (Matt. 25:21, 23 CSB)!”