busyness: our cross to bear

Busyness, Our cross to bear: A View from Ephesians 4:19

By a show of hands, how many of you have ever heard this statement…”I just need more hours in the day!”  If someone just walked in on me right now, they would think I was being held up! Both of my hands are raised!  We are busy people with busy jobs, living busy lives.  Our children are busy too!  I remember there was a time when my son played baseball, and my daughter played softball.  Most of the time their games would be on the same night, but at two separate fields.  My wife and I would flip coins to see who would go where! Even our vacations (if we even take one) are busy!  So the question is, do we really need more time, or do we need to do a better job of managing our time?

Realizing what our needs are…..

Trying to differentiate between a “want” and a “need” can often be very confusing.  We are told by society and mass media what we “need” constantly.  We need to drive a certain car, or need a certain house in a certain neighborhood, or we need to wear certain clothes.  And one of the biggest lies known to mankind is that to be truly happy, we need a lot of “stuff”, which is why we spend the vast majority of our time striving for more and more material possessions, because we convince ourselves that is what we need.

Philippians 4:19 says, “And my God, will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”  Now, wait a minute……could it be that my definition of what my needs are could possibly differ from what the Lord Jesus Christ knows them to be?  The answer is a definite YES!

If God supplies all our needs, which He does…then why are we so often occupying our time with things that take us away from Him?  Are we intentionally staying busy with “things” so we don’t have to have interaction with the King of Glory?  Things and activities in and of themselves are not bad at all. Yet, it is when our lives revolve around busy distractions that constantly steal our time from Kingdom work and The King, that we know we have lost sight of the bigger picture.  According to 1 Timothy 6:17, we are to “instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy.”  God gave us time to enjoy, but not to enjoy it void of His presence.

Our time comes from His riches…..

I love the richness of the term “will supply” from our scripture reference in Philippians 4:19.  It means to fill up all the way to the point that nothing is lacking–all the way up to the brim!  God does this concerning all of our true needs, which includes giving us ample time to do all of what we need while here on earth!  He tells us in Ephesians 5:16 to make “the most of your time, because the days are evil.” With all the distractions and busyness of the world today, everything is fighting for our attention!  But God, in His great love for us, has given the blessing of time to not only spend with Him, but to spend for Him as well!

One of the greatest joys I have is spending time in the Word in preparation for feeding the flock!  I have moments where God blesses me with spiritual gold, often just for me and no one else, all because I took the time to spend with Him!  Another joy that He gives me time for is to fellowship with His children as we come together for encouragement, praise, and the study of His Word!

Not only is that time with fellow believers some of the sweetest to be had, we are also instructed in Hebrews 10:25, that we are to stop “forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the day drawing near.”  I think the problem so often in the body of Christ today is we think the Word is joking when it commands that!  Time with other believers, and spending time in meditation of His Word. are some of “His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”

Are we wasting time making excuses…..

I have made excuses for a number of things in my life, excuses for not cleaning my room or doing homework, etc. As a child, I’d say: “It takes too long!”  Or I’d excuse myself for missing a meeting or event that I had scheduled with a friend because “the time slipped away from me!”  And the list goes on and on, ad nauseam!  All of these excuses, though they may have seemed right to me, still sounded rather empty when played back in my own ears.  So now the question comes….what do our excuses concerning time sound like to the Lord?  I don’t presume to have the answer to that question, but let’s draw a circle around ourselves and imagine for a moment that we actually would say or think some of these things…

“Sunday is my only day off and I needed the rest”….. yet, you made it to the gym four times this week before or after work with no problem.  “I couldn’t get the kids up and ready in time to make it to church”..… but, you manage to get them off to school each day, and yourself to work on time so you don’t lose your job.  “I don’t have time to read the Bible”….. and still you know the finest details of the game from the night before; you are even able to clearly explain to your friend that your team lost, all because of a bad call by a corrupt referee.  (I’m not pointing fingers at UNC fans either, says the bitter NC State fan!)  “It was raining too hard”….. while some of your brothers and sisters not only walked to church in the rain today, but they could be put to death if they were caught for even being in a church.  “I don’t hear anything from God, and I pray once a day over dinner”…..but you have 43 “likes” to your post about a praying mantis jumping onto someone’s face, which is the 12th update you’ve made to your social media page in the last hour.

Time for confession…..

If we are honest with ourselves, and with the Lord, we have to admit that we do have enough time.  But the truth is, we are not very good stewards of it.  When we each reflect on how we spend our day, more often than not, we are settling for less, when we have access to more!  As I say to my congregation all the time…..”Why settle for Steam-Umms when you can have Filet Mignon?”  Ask the Lord to reveal the areas in your life that are a waste of time, and allow Him to have those precious moments back.

This isn’t to say that you can’t watch TV or have hobbies, but are your hobbies more like idols before the Lord?  Ask Him!  He will make it clear to you, though I would imagine you may already know the answer.  Does your phone get more “FaceTime” than your Savior does?  Are you more familiar with your remote control than you are with the Word of God?  If any of these things sound familiar, don’t you think it’s time for a change?  Seek the treasure that comes from spending time with the Lord!

The Glory of God changes everything


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