Let’s start right off with a bit of a self-evaluation. Think in terms of “too much”, “not enough” or “just right”. How much time do you spend doing the following activities each day?
Spending Quality Time with Your Kids
Spending Quality Time with Your Husband
Attending Your Kids’ Games or Activities
Reading the Bible
Being Still Before the Lord
Doing an Activity you find Relaxing
This whole idea of busyness isn’t a new concept. You’re probably busier than you need to be and you probably already knew that, right? Jesus was never portrayed in Scripture as being in a hurry. Isn’t that amazing? Scripture never refers to Jesus as rushing anywhere or running late or not having time to do something he wanted to do. Now, he was human, so it’s probable that he found himself busy at times, but the stories recorded in Scripture for us depict him taking his time as he went from place to place and person to person. Not only that, but Jesus had a few choice words to say about the busyness of one of his dearest friends. You’ve probably heard the story of Mary and Martha before. It’s in Luke 10:38-42.
Jesus visits Mary and Martha
The first thing Martha did was invite Jesus into her home. This was a great thing! She opened her home to the Savior and invited him in. No criticism there, Martha. The second thing Scripture tells us here is that Martha was distracted with her serving. No doubt there was a lot to get done. We’ve all been in the position of hostess and we like to make sure everything is taken care of and ready for our guests. There’s nothing wrong with that. The harm came when Martha became distracted by her service. She forgot to stop and sit and spend time with her guest because she was so busy serving. Uh-oh, Martha. Jesus quickly put her in her place, reminding her that Mary’s choice to sit at the feet of Jesus and listen was the better choice.
So what else does the Bible have to say about busyness? Is there anything else to add to this teaching of Jesus here in Martha’s home? Oh, you know there is!
Busy with Your own House
Look at Haggai 1:3-9. It was time for God’s people to rebuild the temple. They really didn’t want to, but the prophet, Haggai, delivered a message from the Lord instructing them to get started. If ever there was a group of busy people, this is it. They’ve been working and eating and drinking and trying to survive and it just seems like they’re spinning their wheels because despite all of their hard work, they never have enough. Haggai reveals to them the reason that their labor isn’t producing any good fruit. It’s because the house of the Lord lies in ruins while everyone is running around being busy with their own houses. Their priorities were a bit twisted, thinking that their own homes were more important than the house of God.
Let’s take the advice offered in Haggai 1:7 and consider our ways. Are we like Matha, so busy with working for the Lord that we forget to stop and linger in his presence? Or are we like the Israelites, spending more time on the business of our own homes while there is Kingdom work to do? Neither of these options are God’s best for our schedules or our lives.
It’s all about Perspective
In the next few months, FBC Gonzales is going to begin a season of studying our purpose as individuals and as a church. We’re going to use the book, “The Purpose Driven Life” by Rick Warren to explore our purposes here on earth. If you haven’t read that book, I highly recommend it, even if you don’t feel like you struggle with knowing your purpose. The first line of this book is simultaneously simple and mind-blowing. “It’s not about you.” This whole life is not about you. It’s not about me. Yet somehow, we have gotten it absolutely backwards. We operate our day-to-day lives as if this life is all about me and you and our kids and our husbands. It’s time for a shift in our perspective.
In his book, Rick Warren gives us five purposes for living here on earth:
• Purpose #1: You Were Planned for God’s Pleasure (Worship)
• Purpose #2: You Were Formed for God’s Family (Fellowship)
• Purpose #3: You Were Created to Become Like Christ (Discipleship)
• Purpose #4: You Were Shaped for Serving God (Ministry)
• Purpose #5: You Were Made for a Mission (Mission)
You can tell a lot about a woman by looking at her schedule. Her schedule speaks volumes.
If you can look at your schedule, no matter what activities fill it, and find that your daily life focuses on worship, fellowship, discipleship, ministry and mission, chances are you’re in a good place. But if your schedule reflects a different set of priorities, it’s time for an evaluation and a change.
What is your “Thing?”
Each of us has at least one particular “thing” that typically dominates our schedules. For some of you it’s all about your kids! Their athletics – practices, games, tournaments, lessons. Maybe they’re into 4-H and stock show. Maybe your family is big on academics. For others of you, your “thing” may be your job or social activities, or reading, or watching tv or social media. Your “thing” may be that you are a caregiver or you are responsible for something or someone on a full-time basis. You know what your “thing” is. It’s the “thing” you spend most of your time doing.
This won’t come as a shock to anyone that know me, but my “thing” is CHURCH MINISTRY. My family doesn’t participate in many sports and we sure don’t show animals. We value academics and we definitely spend too much time watching TV and playing on Facebook. But our “thing” is church. We are here just about every time the doors are open and usually when they aren’t. Our Sunday starts with us arriving to church around 7:45 am and we don’t usually get home until 12:30. We go back on Sunday evenings for meetings and practices and Bible Study and prayer time, so we’re usually at church for around 8 hours each Sunday. Wednesdays are starting to look pretty similar. Bible Study has me here by 8 every Wednesday morning and I don’t usually get home until 11:30 or so. We’re back up here for our evening activities for several more hours each Wednesday evening. Then throw in things like Ladies Retreat or our Men’s Campout or baby showers or Valentine’s banquets or conferences and we are doing church ministry all the time. When we aren’t AT church, we’re talking about church or working on Bible studies or writing sermons or talking on the phone or texting with church members. It’s pretty much a 24/7 gig at the Irving house. And we LOVE it.
But sometimes it can be a problem if we forget that our purpose in it is not about US. It’s not about making us look good or making our church look good. It’s not about numbers or attendance or money. It’s not about the number of activities we can be involved in. It’s about worship, fellowship, discipleship, ministry and mission. It’s about bringing God glory in all of those things and through our obedience to Him in what we allow into our lives. Sometimes, my perspective is right on. I’m doing it all for the Lord and for His glory. Other times though, my perspective shifts and I begin to do “church ministry” for all the wrong reasons. I take something that is good and turn it into an idol when it becomes more important than Him.
So think about what your “thing” is.
You can do that thing for God’s glory.
You can do that thing as an act of worship or to fellowship with other believers.
You can do that thing to make disciples.
You can do that thing to minister to others and share the good news of the gospel.
You can do that thing to make your name great.
You can do that thing to advance yourself or your kids.
You can do that thing so that you feel like you’re living the American dream.
You can do that thing because everybody else is doing it and you wouldn’t want to be left out.
You can turn that good thing into an idol too.
You can do your “thing” for all the right reasons or all the wrong reasons.
Bad Busy vs. Good Busy
So the conclusion I’ve come to is this: There are Two Ways to be Busy
- Bad Busy – When your schedule reflects priorities that focus on you.
- Good Busy – When your schedule reflects priorities that focus on Him.
Instructions for women
Let’s look at Titus 2:3-5. Here Paul is writing to Titus with instructions for the older men and women in the church. In verse 5 he tells Titus that the older women need to train the younger women how to “work at home” or “be busy at home”. It’s odd that in Haggai and in Luke, we are instructed that busyness is NOT a virtue, but here in Titus, it seems that busyness at home is a good thing.
So let’s keep looking at Scripture until we understand. Head over to Proverbs 31. If anyone in Scripture can shine some light on busyness, it’s this Proverbs 31 lady, this wife of noble character. Check out all the things she does:
She finds supplies and works with her hands. She cooks for her family, even getting up before sunrise to do it. She makes big purchases and isn’t afraid of manual labor. She stays up late and gets up early. She sews clothing and bed coverings for her family. She ministers to the poor and needy. She makes all the clothes for her family and sells what she makes for profit. She shows strength and dignity and wisdom and kindness. This lady sounds pretty busy to me! And oddly enough, here in Proverbs, this busyness sounds like a good thing!
Busyness at home is a good thing for us. The world wants us to be busy outside of the home. The world tells us to climb the corporate ladder and shatter the glass ceiling. The world tells us to get our kids involved in every possible activity outside the home that we can. God tells us to be busy at home. Does that mean that women working is wrong? Or activities outside the home are not godly? Definitely not. But if we neglect our homes because of these things, we are in the wrong. We are not living the kind of life God has for us. God makes it very clear in Scripture that our priority as women should be our homes. Our husbands. Our children. Our homes.
Practical Instructions for Busy Women
So what can you do if you know your schedule is too busy? These simple instructions are not just important for you, but for your kids. The schedule you allow your kids to keep is the message you are sending to them about their purpose.
1. Just say NO.
Remember our verse, Isaiah 26:8? After the “Yes, Lord” part that we know so well, it says “walking in the way of your laws, we wait for you.” Too often, we barrel right ahead with our plans, not even considering God’s plan for our lives. Sometimes we need to wait for Him. Not every good thing is the best thing for you or your family. Don’t be afraid to back out of things you’ve already committed to when you realize those things are not being used for God’s glory.
2. Honor the Sabbath and keep it holy.
Read Exodus 20:8-11. For some reason this is one of the Ten Commandments that we don’t take as seriously as the others. God rested from His work of creation on the seventh day and we are commanded to do the same. Anything less is a sin. If you are running from one activity to the next and those activities have encroached upon your day of rest, it is time to change your schedule.
3. Practice stillness. Read Psalm 46:10. Carve out time in your day each day to practice being still in the presence of God. This is a discipline that He wants His children to have. Meditating on a verse like this helps us to fix our perspectives on the right things- his exaltation among the nations and over all the earth.
4. Make your home your priority.
Read Deuteronomy 6:4-9. It is our responsibility as mothers to teach our children to love the Lord with all their hearts. What does that love look like? Obedience. We must teach our children to love the Lord by focusing their lives around the glory of His name, not the glory of their own names. As Jesus-followers, our schedules should reflect that we prioritize our homes.
Obeying God when you’re busy is a complicated task. It takes some intentional self-examination and may require some tough decisions. But those hard things are so worth it when we get our perspective fixed to line up with God’s perspective. When we remember that this life is not about us, but all about Him, the task of simplifying our schedules becomes a joy and a privilege instead of a dreaded burden.
Father, help us to honor you with our schedules.