An old English proverbs says, “Idleness is the devil’s workshop.” This may be a true statement but the opposite is also true. Busyness is the devil’s workshop.
This puts us in a conundrum. If both of these are true, how do we get where we ought to be – out of the devil’s workshop and into God’s workshop?
We have to draw a line somewhere between laziness and busyness. We should always be making progress in our lives, i.e., growing, learning, and developing. But it is necessary that we recognize the difference between progress and pressure.
We should always be progressing but rarely in a mad rush.
According to a survey in Patrick Morley’s book, Man in the Mirror, the number one problem among men is time management.
Richard Swenson in his book, Margin, noted that nearly every study on family stress reveals time pressures to be at or near the top of the list. The average time that a husband and wife spend in meaningful conversation each day is four minutes. Parent-to-child quality time resides in the same neighborhood: between thirty-seven seconds and five minutes a day, depending on the study.
We talk about time a lot:
- “What time does the meeting start?”
- “I don’t have time.”
- “How much time will it take?”
- “Don’t waste your time on that.”
- “It’s time to go.”
- “It’s time we had a long talk.”
- “What time is supper?”
- “Take out a clean sheet of paper. It’s time for a quiz.”
- “Time out!”
We are always conscious of time. I don’t wear a watch anymore because I had a terrible habit of looking at it in the middle of conversations. That was rude.
We allow our busyness and lack of time to be a point of pride. It boosts our ego to appear busy. It’s an expectation and status symbol. It’s a common answer to the question, “How are you doing?” It makes us feel important to say that we don’t have time. We are afraid that if we don’t appear busy that we will appear lazy.
If the devil can’t make you bad, he’ll make you busy.
Society says if you’re not busy and living up to your full potential you’re wasting your life. If you’re not getting all you can out of life, you’re not a productive cog in society.
Is that really true?
Look at the life and words of Jesus. He didn’t say, “I’ve come so that you can be busy.” He said, “I’ve come so you can have an abundant life.”
Jesus didn’t say, “If you love me, you will fulfill your potential.” He said, “If you love me, you will obey me.”
Our problem with busyness and time management is not a tips or techniques problem. It’s not that we need to know more shortcuts on how to save time. Our problem is a spiritual problem. God never intended for us to be oppressed, depressed, and stressed about our busy lives. He never intended for time to dictate our every move.
Jesus moved through life deliberately but was never in a hurry. Crowds thronged around him. The sick wanted to be healed. His followers wanted to be taught. When people came to him for help, he gave them the impression that no one else was more important than them. The secret to his effectiveness was because he knew God ordered his footsteps. He saw every engagement or interruption as a divine appointment.
The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives (Psalm 37:23, NLT).
We must live purposefully. We must examine our reason for being. We must live thoughtfully.
“The unexamined life is not worth living.” – Plato
If you constantly crowd your life with a full calendar of events and consume your time with activities that lead you in directions you really don’t want to go, it will lead to depression and frustration.
- A crowded life leads to “I’m busy.”
- Busyness leads to “I’m tired.”
- Fatigue leads to “I’m grumpy.”
- Grumpyness leads to “I don’t care.”
- Apathy leads to “I have no purpose.”
- Purposelessness leads to “I hate my life.”
May I suggest that you stop and examine your life? What is your purpose? Why are you here? Where do you excel? Where can you make your greatest contribution?
You may be thinking, “Gene, that sounds kind of heavy. Do you mean I have to sit down and actually come up with a reason to justify why I’m consuming oxygen on this planet?”
You need to know where you’re going. When you know your purpose, you can make better sense of how to utilize your time. When you’re using your time well, somewhere between laziness and busyness, you’ll be doing life in God’s workshop rather than the devil’s workshop.
Think on these things…
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