(The Information & Edification Series – Batch 8)
People love to talk and even boast about how much they got done in one day and how much they exerted themselves. In chatting with them on how they’ve spent the day or week, you can sense that they are beaming with pride, as they let you know that they’ve spent their day racing, doing this and doing that. The more they did, the more they immersed themselves in doing this or that, the more accomplished they feel. You realize that somehow, this idea of over exertion, of going and going and going, hardly ever stopping to catch one’s breath, seems to add to their sense of worth and makes them feel that they have purpose in life.
Furthermore, if for one reason or another, you have not had such a busy day and can’t claim to have exhausted yourself doing ‘stuff’, they will subtly and sometimes even blatantly try to guilt you, to make you feel ashamed, looking down at you as some kind of a failure and conclude that you are lazy.
Now, nothing is wrong with working hard and staying busy. The Word of God talks about working and having a good industrious ethic. However, some people take being busy and immersing themselves with an avalanche of secular tasks, activities, chores and ‘stuff’ (most of which are for self and family – not God), to a point of idolatry. For, they wear it as a badge of honour and pride, by which they can eagerly boast to others of how busy they’ve been and how they’ve just been going all day and of how much they exerted themselves to the point of exhaustion. If others have not busied themselves as much, running around doing a whole lot of ‘stuff’, then in these people’s minds, they should be ashamed of themselves.
Yet, I can’t help but remember what a lady I once worked with (now deceased), used to always jokingly say at the office. She herself was what one would call a workhorse, always having her lists of activities planned out for what she would do when she got home. What she stated was said in humour but there was a tinge of sobriety in the statement as well. There was a truth that begged to be reflected and pondered upon and years later, I haven’t forgotten it.
Commenting on the busyness of the incredibly fast-paced society in which we live, where everybody seems to be racing and out of time and out of breath and wishing that there were more hours in a day, than that allotted by God in his wisdom, to get more ‘stuff’ done, she used to say: “Some of us are going nowhere, fast!”
This conjured up for me, images of people going around and around aimlessly in circles, at high speed, much like a hamster does but sadly, making no real or meaningful progress in life.
She was right. She saw through the futility of many of our efforts, busying ourselves with ‘stuff’ that are not really worthwhile, doing a whole lot of ‘stuff’ to make ourselves feel accomplished and like we belong to this world’s mad rush and because everybody seems to be running around like crazy chickens as well and we want to fit in, accepting line and sinker, the world’s definition of ‘success’.
Yet, despite all our effort and how we tire ourselves out doing Lord alone knows what, many of us make little or no real headway, at least not along the path that matters or on the things that are most meaningful in life.
As one commenter stated, “It is a mistake to think that moving fast is the same as actually going somewhere.” Therein lies the problem! People think that if they are doing a whole lot of ‘stuff’ and fast, if they busy themselves with more work than they can handle, so that there is never enough time to get it all done and hardly enough time or none at all to rest and enjoy some of life and to spend quality time with the people around them that they love and even the God that they claim to love, that THIS is what success looks like.
Yet, as the proverbial saying goes: “Life is a marathon, not a sprint”. Another tells us, “The race is not for the swift but for those with endurance” and finally, “Success is not a destination. It is a journey.”
Unfortunately, some people learn this very late in their lives, when they’ve ‘spent’ their years just being busy with everything under the sun and failed to ‘invest’ it in what really mattered.
Some go through all their lives and never learn the lesson and they pass on and the world does not come to a stop. It continues, although they somehow thought, when they were here, that the world needed them to do this and that and could therefore, not exist without them. They thought themselves to be integral, to be invincible but time prove that they were not.
As I speak (or perhaps should say type), some are busy writing up the next long list of tasks for tomorrow’s activities or the upcoming week, when God wants them to slow down, so that they can take time to really listen to what he may have been trying to tell them, for so long.
Believe it or not, some people use work as an excuse, to dodge God, to drown out his voice, to pretend that they can’t hear him and what he is saying, so as to avoid addressing issues within themselves. They hate the idea of having downtime or being at a standstill because then, they will be forced to think, forced to use the time to face themselves and reflect on things that they need to change within themselves, like ugly behaviours and attitudes that are displeasing to God.
Some fear that downtime will mean that they can finally hear God convicting them of something of which they need to repent and so, to avoid all of that or to not think on the fact that they are mortal and therefore have an appointment with death and afterwards, judgment, they busy themselves with ‘stuff’.
Some are heartbroken over some life disappointment and instead of turning to the Lord, they turn to work, hoping that this will make them forget the pain.
Some who know the Lord as Saviour, know that they should be doing more for the Lord, to advance his Kingdom but to appease their guilt, they just claim to be too busy and immerse themselves in every other activity that they can find. Anything to get out of evangelism! Anything to not use the gift that God has entrusted them with and meaningfully!
Some Christians refuse to grow in God’s knowledge and grace, refuse to spend time in his Word and are thankful for the excuse, that the secular world has them busy. Had it not been for my schedule, they say, I would have done this or that. Unfortunately, my busy life does not allow me to do so and so.
They say it with a straight face, hoping to convince the person they are speaking to, having deluded themselves into believing that this is true. However, they can’t fool God because he sees the heart. He knows that they would rather focus on secular activities that benefit themselves, their pockets and their families, than focus on doing his work.
While working hard is good, it is always important to put things in their right perspective. Hard work is good but it is not to be idolized. It is not to be worn as a badge of prideful honour and be used as an opportunity to cast our noses down at those who are not as busy as us, in a particular season or to get away from doing and being what we know God wants us to do and be.
Secular work, which is the work we do to benefit ourselves and our loved ones, will never be as important as working for the Lord. The latter is far more noble. If we are working our tails off secularly therefore, doing house chores, attending to the garden or at the office but we don’t have that same work ethic or even greater when it comes to doing work for the Lord, in advancing the gospel and edifying the saints with our gifts, then we have it all wrong.
If we think that secular work is what gives us purpose, we err in our thinking. It is Jesus Christ that gives us purpose and unless we align ourselves with his agenda and adopt HIS priorities, we may have lived a busy life but we would have lived a wasted life.
Finally, if we are so busy that we can’t find time to relax, to enjoy some of life, to invest in our family through quality communications and to just do nothing but reflect, engage in introspection and meditate on God’s Word, then our life is out of balance. Something is off-key and out of whack. For, we have taken the time and energy that God has given us and turned it into an idol because we have elevated the idea of work and being busy on secular stuff, to the highest point possible in our hearts. Alas, we have reduced the value of our existence, as simply living for secular work and secular activities and that is not something to be proud of.
I was actually told by a guy recently who was renting short term at my mother’s Bed and Breakfast business, that people just don’t have the time to pursue after God. I was trying to witness to him and to bring to the core of his conscience, that there was a God to which we were all accountable, who has gifted us his Word the Bible. He told me though, as if I was being unreasonable, given people’s daily demands and the mad rush of things, that people are just too busy to have the time needed to learn about God. He said it hoping that I would understand but I let him know that that was most insulting to the God that created us and gave us life and breath.
Contrary to what this world says, life is not about a mad rush or attaining things, fast. Real success is not about busying ourselves with ‘stuff’, just so that it can be said of us that we have been busy.
As I have always said and firmly believe, quickness and alacrity mean nothing. Endurance and patience are everything. We must therefore take the time (yes, take the time), to build our ability to endure.
Also, as I once heard a Christian lady say on radio, we should all examine ourselves to determine whether our lives are being ‘invested’ or just ‘spent’. In short are we redeeming the time that we have here on earth, doing that which is worthwhile? Are we making our lives count? Are we laying up treasures in heaven where no moth can corrupt or are we too fixated on doing earthly ‘stuff’?
Matthew 6:19, 21 and Colossians 3:2 are relevant in this regard.
(Written on 10th January, 2023)
Dear Reader, if you found the above Article to be interesting, informative, beneficial or edifying, you may also be interested in reading the following:
- Note 77 – ‘Is Your Life And The Life Of Those Around You Being ‘Spent’ Or ‘Invested’?
- Note 146 – ‘Three Idols In The Church – Getting Married, Having Children And Working A Secular Job’
- Note 157 – ‘The Price Tag Of Success’
- Note 200 – ‘The Paradoxical Principles To Successful Living – God’s Manual’
- Note 206 – ‘Money Is Not The Driving Force In My Life’
- Note 212 – ‘Are You Chasing After Success?’
- Note 221 – ‘What Is God Calling You To Cast Out Of Your Life?’
- Note 275 – ‘How God Wants Us To Treat With Our Idols’
- Note 276 – ‘Are You In Love With Money? People Who Loved Money To Their Detriment, In The Bible’
Under the ‘BIBLE-BELIEVING Daughters’ page:
- Note 187 – ‘Stirring Up The Gift – Getting God’s Work Done’
- Note 189 – ‘How To Have Good Success’
- Note 212 – ‘What Are You Most Passionate About?’
- Note 244 – ‘Stay In Your Lane’
- Note 251 – ‘Fixated With Me? Focus On Him!’
- Note 252 – ‘Working For The Lord’