"Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth."
In the midst of this busy Christmas season, it is easy for me to tell myself, I am just too busy to take the time to do my devotions. After all, I have a sermon to write, a funeral to prepare, a men’s group to get ready for, and extra services to organize. I am just too busy.
I felt that way, as I came into my office this morning. But, I sat down in my chair, opened my Bible and read Psalm 46. Vs. 10 jumped off of the page."Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth." I was struck with the reality that nothing I have to do is more important than spending time with my Lord. Nothing is more important than reading the Bible and holding a conversation with God in prayer.
I must confess that busyness is often just an excuse. I have time to do many things other than the projects I am working on for church. Yet, I can claim busyness as an excuse to not visit a shut-in or to not spend time really engaging in God’s Word. For me, at least, busyness is one of Satan’s most effective weapons. I can hide behind the façade of busyness. I can use it as a protective shield to deflect interruptions to “my” schedule. It gives me a convenient excuse for inaction; an excuse that people will readily accept. No one seems to question busyness. Everyone seems to assume it.
Jesus never let busyness rule his life. He was hard-pressed from dawn to dusk by people demanding his time and attention. Yet, Jesus was never in a hurry. He always found time to be alone with the Father. He always found time to engage in what was really important, not just what was demanding and urgent. While Jesus was on the way to minister to Jairus’ daughter, he took the time to stop and heal a woman who had been plagued by a bleeding disorder for twelve years. I am sure that Jairus was anxious, but Jesus was not. (Mark 5:21-36) When Jesus was eating dinner at the home of Mary and Martha, Martha was frantic about all that needed to be done. Mary, on the other hand, sat at Jesus’ feet and listened to him. When Martha confronted Jesus with this injustice, Jesus told her to settle down, sit down and spent time with him. (Luke 10:38-42)
The real issue is not action vs. inaction. It is purposeful action vs. frenetic activity. It is having the insight and wisdom to know what is most important and what is secondary. Let me give you two examples.
Several years ago, early on a Sunday morning, a young man arrived to deliver the donuts for our coffee time. As he was about to leave, he knocked on my door and asked the inevitable question. “Are you busy.” My first response was, “yes, I am getting ready for the service.” I stopped and asked a couple of quick questions. He was struggling with his lack of desire for spiritual things. I arranged to meet him at a later date, and he went on his way. He never showed up for the appointment. I regret that I let busyness get in the way of a significant spiritual encounter.
Yesterday, I was working on my sermon for Sunday, when a knock came at my door. It was a woman who I had worked with at the death of her mother. I invited her in and offered her a seat. She began to open up about some things that she was struggling with. We probably spent a half hour together. When she left, she thanked me for taking the time to talk with her, because, “I know how busy you are.” I was glad that I had set aside what I was doing to give this woman a listening ear.
James says that man’s anger does not accomplish God’s purposes. (James 1:20) We could rightly insert the word busyness. Man’s busyness does not accomplish God’s purposes. If I am too busy to spent time reading God’s word and praying, then I am too busy. If am too busy to stop what I am doing and talk to a person in need, then I am too busy. If I am too busy to exercise and care for my physical body, as God desires, then I am too busy. Some of my most encouraging and meaningful encounters have happened when God interrupted my busy schedule. Someone has said that interruptions are often God’s divine appointments.
During this amazing, busy time of the year, I need to be intentional to stop and sit at the feet of Jesus. After all, is not that what Christmas is all about!