This post is the second part of the “Hi … I am Busy” series.
In the first part, I pointed out that the word “I am busy” or the like has been so overused that it has lost its meaning. Furthermore, at times we use that phrase really because we don’t want to talk about what’s really happening in our lives. Most, if not all, of the times we did not lie when we said that. After all, who is not busy these days? However, left unchecked, our busyness can cause harm to our physic, our emotion, and our spirit.
In 1930, John Maynard Keynes predicted that, by the end of 20th century, technology would have advanced sufficiently that people in countries such as Great Britain or the United States would only need to work 15 hours every week. Truth be told, technologically, we are quite capable of this. That same year, evolutionary biologist Julian Huxley, for a different reason, predicted similarly. Both of them warned that someday, we would have so much leisure time that we would not know what to do with all that free time. And yet, you and I know that it didn’t, hasn’t, and probably will not happen.
If anything, we work longer, and we can’t wait for our holiday. By the time we come back from holiday, we are so overwhelmed with work that you can’t wait for the next holiday. Interestingly, the more developed a country is, the longer hour the people work generally. There might be other factors, of course. However, my point is that we must realise that the problem does not depend on the wealth of the country. Rather, the problem is in our priority, which reveals our heart.
Of course, not just workers are busy. Don’t even mention parents. Even students these days claim that they are so busy. Even children are so busy with many things, mainly because the parents overwhelm them with so many responsibilities, mine included, I think.
So, what are the consequences of our busyness? Physically, we are more tired. We are perpetually fatigue. Mentally, we stressed out a lot. Depression is more and more common. Emotionally, we snap easily. Furthermore, because we are so busy, we don’t have time for deep and meaningful relationship anymore, the very thing that nourishes our emotion. No wonder we run on empty tank emotionally. Spiritually, this is the worst. When we are so busy juggling with so many things, if you are a Christian, the first thing that we drop usually is either our quiet time with God, attendance to church, attendance to small groups, involvement in ministry, prayer, reading our bible, etc. We stop the very things that should nourish our spiritual life.
Now, before I move on further, let me say this first. The solution is not to stop working, nor to treat work as evil. No. Many people, including (or especially) Christians mistakenly think that we are not supposed to work, and that work is the result of sin. If only Eve had not eaten that fruit, we would’ve all been relaxing, not working, eating fruit and veggie from the Garden, and not wearing any clothes. That’s what I used to think. Well, at least the relaxing, not working, and eating non stop. Regarding the clothes, I believe the world would thank Eve for sinning rather than seeing me without clothes.
My point is this: We must know that Work is good. God created human being and we are given the mandate to work, to be busy cultivating this world.
Genesis 2:15 (ESV)
15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.
God placed man in the garden to work, to cultivate it. And …
Genesis 1:28 (ESV)
28 … And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
They must be done by working. Not just singing Kumbayah, eating dragon fruit (yes, there is such fruit), and running down the hill without clothes.
So, being busy working in itself is not wrong. Done well, it glorifies God. God Himself is at work.
17 But Jesus answered them, “My Father is working until now, and I am working.”
In Ephesians 2:10, Paul also tells us that when we are saved, we are not saved from work. In fact, we are saved for work.
Ephesians 2:10 (ESV)
10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
In Colossians 3, Paul tells us to work hard and work well as if working for the Lord.
Colossians 3:23 (ESV)
23 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men,
And in Thessalonians, Paul exhorts us to be busy at work and to not be idle.
2 Thessalonians 3:10-12 (ESV)
10 For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat. 11 For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies. 12 Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living.
So, needless to say, that the Bible is quite positive about us working hard, working smart, working well, and the Bible is rather negative about people who are lazy. Just read the book of Proverbs.
However, just because we are busy, it does not mean we are biblical. So, I am inviting all of us to do some reflection on our busyness and a heart check on our priority. Because sometimes our busyness is just a mask of something else that is happening.
In the next posts, I am going to outline a few types of busyness that might not be biblical, or at least is not helpful, and see if you can identify with any of them. For now, may I hear your thought on whether or not we should be busy? 🙂