What God Says About Busyness

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June 22, 2022

Do you want to know what the number one response is to being asked to do something? I’m sure you can guess it.

I’m busy.

Do you want to know what the number one response is to being asked the question how you have been? Again, I’m sure you can guess it.

Good, busy.

Busy might be the most overused word in the English language. We’re always busy. It’s literally our excuse, reason, or answer for almost everything.

What about you? How often do you use the word “busy” as an answer? Or how overbooked are your schedules that you aren’t making time for things that matter the most?

Let me make sure we’re all on the same page. Being busy is not a spiritual gift. It doesn’t give you status or make you “look important” because you have a lot of things going on. In actuality, it can lead to sin.

We can easily believe the lie that all the things we are filling our calendars with are necessary. Please don’t get me wrong; many of them are important and even urgent. But they may rob us of our time if we aren’t careful.

The enemy loves distraction. And he loves to use it to pull us away from the things God has for us and calls us to.

When we look at the question, what does God say about busyness, we see that the Bible places a high value on using your time wisely.

“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.” — Ephesians 5:15–17

The Bible doesn’t directly say, “Don’t be busy.” But verses like the one above show us that how we spend our time is important. So, what do we do? How can we ensure our lives aren’t filled with mindless busyness? And how can we make sure we are focusing on what matters most?

Here are two simple ways we can begin to rethink what it means to be “busy.”

1️⃣ Evaluate how you spend your time.

“Now, therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts: Consider your ways. You have sown much, and harvested little. You eat, but you never have enough; you drink, but you never have your fill. You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm. And he who earns wages does so to put them into a bag with holes. Thus says the Lord of hosts: Consider your ways.” — Haggai 1:5–9

Years ago, my mentor handed me a piece of paper and a box of colored pencils. On that piece of paper was a grid. Each column represented a day of the week, and each row represented one hour of the day. She asked me to fill in every square each day with a different colored pencil [each pencil representing a different activity]. It didn’t matter if it was sleeping, eating, sitting watching tv, doing homework, reading my Bible, or hanging out with friends; every square was filled with what I did that day and how much time I spent on it.

For a person who at that time thought she was so busy, boy was I mistaken. The way I spent my time was very revealing. It showed me how much I prioritized myself over spending time with God and loving His people.

What are you filling your time with? Are you like the person Haggai talks about above and constantly filling your schedule up with things that are not making an impact for God’s Kingdom?

Grab a box of colored pens, pencils, highlighters, or raid your kid’s crayon box and track how you spend your time in a week. And to make it easy on you, you can download that same simple piece of paper I was given by clicking here.

Once you evaluate your time, look and see what you can keep and the places where you can be more intentional. Look, you’re not going to get rid of having dinner every night, but how can you use that time to be more intentional with others? Maybe dinner once a week now includes your neighbors. Whatever it may be, we need to ask ourselves what can we do with our schedules to make more room for Jesus and to love His people.

2️⃣ Evaluate your answers.

Now, you’re probably thinking, what on earth do you mean evaluate your answers? Answers to what? Well, in case you forgot earlier in this post, I asked a question:

Do you want to know what the number one response is to being asked the question how you have been? Again, I’m sure you can guess it.

“Good, busy.”

Busy is a filler word we often use to hurry through a conversation that we either a) don’t want to have or b) we don’t actually want to share with someone what we’ve been doing. Harsh, I know. But I’m just as guilty of it.
It’s almost as if we are all too busy to have an actual conversation with someone 😉.

Just like Scripture tells us to make the most of our time, it equally tells us the importance of loving, caring, and being in community with one another. And I hate to break it to you but summing up our entire day, week, life, whatever with “I’ve been busy” isn’t any of those things. In fact, I think it’s the opposite. It shows people that we don’t care about engaging in conversation and sharing our lives with one another.

Lately, I’ve been trying something new when it comes to this, and I challenge you to do the same. Next time someone asks you what you have been up to or how you have been, tell them. You may indeed have had a busy weekend, but let them know why. Engage in conversation with one another. And if the person you are talking to responds with “I’ve been busy,” ask them what they have been doing!

Jesus told us that the greatest commandment is to love God and the second is to love our neighbor as ourselves [Mark 12:29–31]. This means God and other people are the two most important things we should be filling our schedules with. Sure, there are things in our schedule that we can’t avoid, such as our jobs. However, if we begin to look at our schedules and things we do as opportunities to share and show the love of Jesus to those we interact with, I think we will be making the most of our time. Let’s look for ways to be intentional even in the things we are already doing or can’t necessarily change.

How cool would it be if when we talked about being busy, it meant we were busy doing kingdom work? I think that is the kind of “busy” God wants us to be!