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There are many implications from God’s Word that are biblically assumed and universally lived out. Being busy is one of those implications for the believer. Here are a few Scriptures that support the mandate for us to be active Christians. As you reflect on these passages, consider the work involved to spread God’s fame by being Jesus to those around you.
The bored, un-busy, inactive, goal-less, empty to-do list follower of Jesus is incongruent with a Spirit-illuminated, Spirit-directed, Spirit-empowered Christian framework. Imagine coming back from a day’s work, in response to the Lord’s directive, and saying, “Well, it was kinda boring. I wish we had more to do.” (See Mark 6:31 and Luke 9:10.)
When someone tells me they had a busy week, I typically express silent gratitude for their busyness while curiously wondering what keeps them so engaged. Perhaps I can learn something from my busy friend because I’m a busy guy too.
Of course, there are a few un-busy Christians still walking upright in our world today. Maybe it would be more fitting to say they are sitting down. It would serve them well if they had a caring friend to come alongside them by providing a few practical missional pointers for living well in God’s world.
Maybe even a loving “gospel-kick” on the backside would get them going. These folks remind me of Eliza Doolittle at the horse race in My Fair Lady when her horse, Dover, was not moving fast enough. Finally, with all attempts to corral her self-control, she unhitched her tongue and yelled, “Dover, move your blooming arse.” (I love that part.)
Busy does not have an age limit. If you’re a Christian and healthy, I assume that you are busy with the Master’s business (Luke 2:49). A disciple is a learner, and if we’re learning from the Master the right way, we are hard-working, living out a practical worldview daily. A bored Christian teenager is just as much an anomaly as a bored Christian adult.
It is rare to counsel an un-busy person. The exception would be the lazy individual with no ambition or motivation to better himself. Of course, if you ask him if he was busy, typically he would say yes, which usually means excessive device time, binge-watching, and other addictive behaviors.
When I ask them how their week went, they will say they were busy. When I ask if they did their homework, most of the time, they stumble and stutter, finally admitting that they did not do what I asked them to do. These people are busy—but busy the wrong way. They don’t understand “busy for Jesus,” and the gospel does not energize their lives.
The busy person’s unwillingness to biblically prioritize his life is why you must ask better questions than, “Were you busy?” If your marriage is dysfunctional and you’re too busy to discipline yourself for a season to repair it, let’s skip the “busy question” and talk about the real issue—what’s happening in your heart.
Jesus gave us an insightful way of thinking about what is important to us when He used the treasure metaphor. We always connect our hearts to our most important treasures—the things we value over everything else. He saw no discontinuity between who we are—at the heart level—and what we do—at the action, practical level of our lives (Luke 6:45).
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21).
“You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?” (Matthew 7:16).
One way that helps me to assess and address my heart is by thinking through how I spend my day, including my discretionary time—when there are no demands placed on me. Jesus said their works would reveal the kind of person they are. You tell me what you do on a day-to-day, week-to-week basis, and I will let you know what kind of person you are. There is objective data that characterizes the condition of our hearts.
We will find that data in the activities of our lives. None of us are that mysterious. The real question is whether we will be honest about how we spend our time and allow others to scrutinize our pace of life lovingly. What does not help is when the summation of our self-analysis is, “I’m busy.” The typical response to the person who says they are busy is commiseration, which lacks biblical analysis and intervention.
Our Christian duty is to love our relationships enough to spur each other on to the right kind of activities (Hebrews 10:24). Neglecting this responsibility will empower stressed-out Christians who do not know how to manage their time, priorities, or values. Typically, these Christians yield to the temptation of an opposing spirit characterized by criticalness and grumbling.
Once they go into complaining mode, they will perpetuate stressed stagnation and jettison the spiritual disciplines. Gospelized Christians can do better. They are grateful for being busy because they know there is coming a day when being active may not be an option (2 Corinthians 4:16). They want to work while it’s day (John 9:4). Every Christian should die with a thousand unfulfilled dreams.
A Few Optional Responses for When Someone Asks If You’re Busy:
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