I often wonder if I’m the only one but I think on this matter more and more in many fields of life will understand. I feel often like I miss a lot of life because I am moving so quickly through life. I’m in a church building - several hundred people are going out or coming in and I’m talking to them all but not connecting with any of them, gotta hurry. I’m in a hospital room and trying to leave from the time I got in there, check that off the list and move to the next thing on it, gotta move on. I’m on the phone answering a question with a brief answer, if you want a longer one give me time to think about it, but I’m not sure I want to give a longer one, I don’t have time to think about it. I’m answering an email, few pleasantries, just the facts, no time for fun. I’m writing a blog, gotta get it posted and move on to the next event.
I’ve justified this inability to devote extended time to being so busy for the Lord or to always having a to do list longer than I could ever get it done. I regularly put in 18-19 hour work days and can’t remember the last time I disconnected for more than an hour or two. In no way am I complaining (I’ve pushed myself to this), just wondering. Am I really touching anyone on a deep level? Am I really impacting people’s lives for eternity? Am I really connecting in a way that influences? Maybe I am, but is it real or just “next”? Need a minute? Of course I’ve got it, for you any anyone else who asks, right? I can squeeze you in between 9:50 and 9:55 but that means I don’t get to go to the gym - which is fine cause “bodily exercise only profits a little” (to misquote Paul).
Take a number, get in line: marital counseling, problems with your elders, advice on moving, a prayer for your mom, evangelistic Bible study, worship, sermon to be preached, article to write, put out a fire, meditate, text, tweet - done, done, done, next, next, next! Click, print, publish?
Then there’s legacy - I’m doing more but am I making any impact with my “more”? And suddenly I’m putting off emails that require a lengthy answer, looking beyond the moment of “the event” to evaluating the event, not investing in the hurting who take more time to love, ignoring calls that may require listening for an extended period and missing out on the depth of relationships that must be nurtured. They are trying to talk, I’m looking to move on. They want to connect I want to escape.
Have I fallen in love with “busy”? Is it a need to be needed? Has “done” become my favorite word? Is there more to it? Am I missing out? Do I need to “stop and smell the roses” as my wife advises me, and when I do, can I check that off my list too?
We are a blessed people, but do we miss the peace those blessings could bring us by being a busy people?
I first ran across Eugene Peterson when my brother, Jeff, introduced me to Peterson’s “Under the Unpredictable Plant” back in the mid 90’s. I remember picking up “The Contemplative Pastor” and reading the following words in 1997: “The one piece of mail certain to go unread into my wastebasket is the letter addressed to the ‘busy pastor.’ Not because that phrase doesn’t describe me at times, but I refuse to give my attention to someone who encourages what is worst in me. I’m not arguing the accuracy of the adjective: I am, though, contesting the way it’s used to flatter and express sympathy. ‘The poor man,’ we say. ‘He’s so devoted to his flock; the work is endless, and he sacrifices himself so unstintingly.’...the adjective ‘busy’ set as a modifier to pastor should sound to our ears like embezzling to banker or adulterous with wife.”
In our bigger is better and more is necessary and productivity is king culture - contemplation, extended prayer, slow paced front porch conversation are pushed to the curb, are considered for the lazy or old. What is it? Does our business make us feel important? Do we ever see Christ “busy”? Without time, resources, energy, emotion to invest because He was too busy? Maybe we’d do better to be more like Him (that’s the duh statement of today’s post)! Maybe we’d accomplish more if we slowed down and noticed the hurting, listened to the suffering, directed the lost, prayed with the discouraged, understood the stumbling, uplifted the fallen. Hmmm, maybe I should add those things to my list :)! I think I need to reflect deeply on this - I’ll do it - let’s see - between 1:10-1:12 this afternoon.
I guess I just want to make sure I want to actually be “there” when I am “there” for others. I want to be “there” and enjoy the moment with them! Am I the only one?
And we want...peace! “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you,because he trusts in you” (Isa 26:3). ““Be still, and know that I am God” (Ps 46:10). “And he will be called...Prince of Peace” (Isa 9:6). “the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Phi 4:7).