What’s wrong with busyness? Busyness has become a virtue in our culture. The cliché – activity is not productivity – is true. You may have an executive coach or consultant who has challenged you with this (disciplined thinking). Have you considered the implications of this in your life? I believe that the degree of our preoccupation with life’s concerns is a barometer of our spiritual life.
Jesus challenged his followers through the parable of the sower [see Luke 8:4- 15]. Note that 25% of the seed fell among thorns. “The seed that fell among thorns represents those who hear (the word), but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature. “ (Luke 8:14) I encourage you to read this parable with fresh eyes. Jesus teaches using a vivid example that we can observe today in paths, rocky surfaces, thorns, and fertile fields; likewise, we can see the effects in hearts and lives of folks all around us. Spend a little extra time considering the third group of people in the parable. It is evident that these folks have salvation, yet their growth is stunted by preoccupation with the “stuff of life.” Are you in that category? Is your life marked by a worry about the details of your life? Perhaps you feel choked by these concerns.
The scriptures urge us to cast our anxiety on Jesus (I Peter 5:7); the word cast is a picture of fishermen at the times who utilized large heavy nets for fishing (as opposed to rod & reel fishing that we often conceptualize). These nets required all the might of the fishermen to heave them to sea. What would it look like to use all your might to heave your concerns upon the Lord?
Jesus taught us saying, “But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap.” (Luke 21:34) The “Day of the Lord” is a concept that is already, but not yet. In other words, Jesus incarnation began this time period and His return will bring it completion. Thus, it is already begun, but not yet completed. If we are distracted by the busyness of our lives, we may miss Jesus. This may result in a lack of maturity, or more severely, an eternity spent apart from him.
Another perspective on this portion of scripture is the weightiness Jesus places on the distractions: dissipation (debauchery), drunkenness, and cares of this life. They are equally troubling, and, therefore, should draw equal concern from us. “Watch out,” declares Jesus. “Look out! Be careful!” The cares of this world are just as harmful as dissipation and drunkenness when it comes to distracting you from experiencing Jesus now and for eternity. Why is it we place such an emphasis on drunkenness yet completely miss the danger in being consumed by the cares of this life? Why has it become noble to be preoccupied with ourselves?…our progress?…our opportunities?… our children?…our financial challenges?…our relationships?
In his excellent volume on prayer (A Praying Life: Connecting With God in a Distracting World), Paul Miller urges readers that “Learning to pray doesn’t offer you a less busy life; it offers you a less busy heart.” May we grow in maturity, paying attention to our hearts while diligently resisting the pull to be consumed with the cares of this world.