Hopefully you’ve noticed…I haven’t posted in a few days. I’ll chalk it up to recently having been about as busy as I can remember ever being. LOTS of stuff going on right now. If you’ve missed my posts, I sincerely apologize. If you haven’t missed them, then I’m glad I could give you a well deserved break.
So there I was trying to figure out what to write about in the next post when it hit me — write about being busy. The trouble is, there’s not just a whole lot of “busy” verses in the Bible. There are plenty about working and being industrious, but not a lot about being overloaded with stuff to do.
But there is one really good example. In Luke 2, we find Jesus and his parents preparing to return home from the Passover celebration in Jerusalem. I can just imagine Joseph being concerned with making sure the donkeys have enough fuel and their hooves are properly inflated while Mary is making sure that everyone has packed their toothbrushes and clean underwear. In other words, they were busy. So busy in fact they forgot Jesus and left him in Jerusalem (ever seen Home Alone?).
That evening they couldn’t find Jesus with their relatives. Being a parent myself, I know the pang of fear that must have gripped their stomachs upon realizing they had left their child behind. After hurrying back to Jerusalem, they found Jesus at the temple. He had been busy too, conversing with those who were studying and teaching the scriptures. Luke tells us everyone was amazed at Jesus’ knowledge.
But there was a difference between how Joseph and Mary were busy and how Jesus was busy. No, it has nothing to do with religious vs. secular work (for the Christian I don’t believe there is a difference between the two, but that’s a topic for another post). The difference lay in what was accomplished.
You see, all of Joseph and Mary’s fretting, packing, and list-checking came to nothing. Everything they had worked for was undone and had to be done all over again, this time correctly. But Jesus’ work had lasting impacts. His efforts created an experience for others to know God more fully. Jesus was productive. Joseph and Mary were just busy.
I often struggle with knowing if I am productive or just busy. Much of the time it is very difficult for me to discern if my everyday efforts have eternal results for me, my family, and my neighbors, or whether they only result in my thrashing about, trying not to drown in the waters of the American Dream. My prayer is to understand those things that matter and have the courage to change the things that don’t.
How about you? How do you remain productive where it matters without being busy where it doesn’t?
Live The Mission,