A few weeks ago, I needed to have an important conversation with one of my fellow staff members. There were a lot of things going on and I knew his head was full of tasks, meetings, and events so I started off by saying, “I know you’re busy but…”
He had an interesting reply. It was something like, “I hate that you had to say that. I don’t like being so busy that I can’t take time for people over tasks.”
“How’s it going?” we often ask someone. The common reply? “Busy.” We pride ourselves with busyness. Even if we have no tasks to accomplish, meetings to attend or goals to achieve, we seem to be afraid to appear at ease. Do we think our self-worth decreases if we don’t at least claim to be busy? Is our self-esteem so fragile that we must always appear to be pursuing an important task? Are we so paranoid that we believe that people might talk behind our backs claiming that we are lazy, worthless human beings?
I hope not.
An old English proverb says, “Idleness is the devil’s workshop.” This may be true but I propose that the opposite is also true. Busyness is the devil’s workshop. If the devil can’t make you bad, he’ll make you busy.
However, this creates a problem. If both of these are true, how do we get where we ought to be, i.e., out of the devil’s workshop and into God’s workshop? There’s a line to draw somewhere between laziness and busyness. We must find the right tempo in life that allows us to move forward as individuals knowing the difference between progress and pressure. Ideally, we should always be progressing but rarely in a mad rush.
When I read about the life of Jesus, I find that He was busy yet He always seemed to stop and take time for people. I never get the idea that He was rushed or too busy for others. He said, “I have come that you may have life” (John 10:10). He did not say, “I have come so that you can be busy.” Jesus moved through life deliberately but He was never in a hurry. Crowds thronged around Him. The sick wanted to be healed. His followers wanted to be taught. When people came to Him for help He gave them the impression that no one else was more important than them.
The secret to Jesus’s effectiveness was that He knew that God ordered His footsteps and He saw every appointment or interruption as a divine appointment. Psalm 37:23 says, “The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives” (NLT). The apostle Paul wrote, “Be very careful how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore, do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is” (Ephesians 5:15-17).
With God’s help, we must determine the best pace for our lives. It’s a challenge to balance purpose, productivity, and pressure. This is why we must cling tightly to Christ and His calling on our lives. When we are in rhythm with Him, we are exactly where we need to be.