Wisdom Knows “Busy’s” Purpose
It’s an oft-spoken phrase: I’m so busy! Life seems to fly at a rocket-speed pace. Even when not busy working, we are busy checking phones, working remotes, and dashing kids to and from activities. We are often busy doing good things, as well. “Busy” can be necessary, but can also become a trap. A habit. A competition. A sense of worth or security. It is of utmost importance to discern the reason behind our busy. Ultimately, is it to help others, and ourselves bring glory to God?
The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways, but the folly of fools is deception. (Proverbs 14:8)
Wyndham spoke often of a reply my dad would give when someone asked him his occupation. I can still hear my dad answer, while wearing a big smile on his face: “My occupation is dean of admissions at the University of Florida, but my preoccupation is the Kingdom of God. There was no doubt in my mind what was of first importance in his life, and our family’s life. Our family’s busyness reflected this priority.
Wyndham has lived a busy life, but now he lives life at a slow pace. No deadlines. No phone calls. No emails or texts. No travels. No traffic. When he was diagnosed with MSA his neurologist told him, “Now you will have the time to focus on what is truly important.” Important has taken on new meanings. What often seemed urgent has since lost importance. What is truly important, has become what is more urgent. For Wyndham, his disease numbers his days—that is, without divine intervention. Yet, we all need to live with our earthly purpose and heaven in mind—because we all have numbered days.
So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom. (Psalm 90:12 RSV)
One nugget of Wyndham’s wisdom, which stands out to me and which I try to emulate, was his response toward busyness. He was always busy, but never too busy to love God first and then love people. He was never too busy to be deeply involved and connected to me and our children. He was never too busy for people. He decided to live this way.
When we are busy, people can feel hesitant to approach us. When Wyndham was approached, people often said something like…I’d love to get some time with you or get some advice from you, but I know you are so busy. Wyndham would stop, reach out a reassuring arm, look them in the eyes and say… You are my busy. By that, he meant that people were his priority. He was never too busy for people. To love them and to serve them. Who is our busy for? What will our “busy” mean a hundred years from now? Money won’t matter. Sports won’t matter. Our degrees won’t matter. Our looks won’t matter.
Our relationship with God will matter.
We have often advised others…If you are too busy to keep spiritual priorities and build meaningful relationships…then you are just too busy. Something has to give. We can even be busy doing spiritual activities while missing the heart of God and people. If we do “busy” without the heart of Jesus, we will be exhausted and ineffective.
Tonight, as I participated in my online class’ collaborate session, I asked my professor a question. As part of his response, he emailed me a quote from John Piper’s, The Pleasures of God: Meditations on God’s delight in Being God. It reminded me that “busy” flows well from the soul filled by God.
God has no needs that I could ever be required to satisfy. God has no deficiencies that I might be required to supply. He is complete in himself. He is overflowing with happiness in the fellowship of the Trinity. The upshot of this is that God is a mountain spring, not a watering trough. A mountain spring is self-replenishing. It constantly overflows and supplies others. But a watering trough needs to be filled with a pump or bucket brigade. So if you want to glorify the worth of a spring you do it by getting down on your hands and knees and drink to your heart’s satisfaction, until you have the refreshment and strength to go back down into the valley and tell people what you’ve found. You do not glorify a mountain spring by dutifully hauling water up to the path from the river below and dumping it in the spring…the way to please God is to come to him to get and not to give, to drink and not to water. He is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him…God is the kind of God who will be pleased with the one thing I have to offer–my thirst.
As a popular commercial implores, “Remain thirsty, my friends.” Then. we will be energized for our purposeful “busy.”