That is the one word answer many of us give when asked how we’re doing, myself included. The reasons for our busyness are many, the motivations typically good. But that doesn’t mean our busyness is always good. Sometimes it is necessary and unavoidable. But never-ending busyness can easily run in opposition to God’s will. God’s desire for us is to be sanctified and holy—to put on Christ (1 Thessalonians 4:3, 1 Peter 1:16, Romans 13:14). Rather than helping us conform to the image of Christ, busyness can slowly deform us away from Christlikeness.
This deforming can show itself in many ways. It can pull us away from prayer. It can pull us away from God’s Word. I’m sure you can identify areas of your life that are stunted by your busyness—“if only I had more time, I could…”
I’m at least as guilty of these issues as anybody reading this. It’s ironic, but I could get a lot more done if I wasn’t so busy! And you could, too!
I could fix my broken garage. I could tend to my yard. I could fix the hole in my ceiling (yes, this is a true statement). I could read more of my Bible. I could spend more time in prayer.
I could also be more encouraging. Busyness can prevent us from encouraging others, not only by squeezing chances to help from our schedules, but by slamming the door before people can even ask!
Many people don’t seek help because they don’t want to be a burden. They don’t want to add trouble to an already busy life. If you’re already running like your hair is on fire, you make it difficult for others to ask for your help. Of course, your hair could really—tragically—be on fire (speaking figuratively, of course!). But I imagine many of us have lit our own heads (everyone else is doing it!) and are capable of putting it out again. We should probably begin to try.
God’s Word commands us to bear one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:2). If your busyness prevents you from doing so, then your busyness prevents you from following Christ. Not only that, it robs others of the joy, strength, and life that could be found in your friendship.
But there’s a two-headed monster guarding the halls of encouragement. Slaying the beast of busyness is only half of the battle.
The busyness of others is often a convenient cover for our own pride. We don’t ask for help, not because we don’t want to burden others, but because we don’t want to be the burden. We don’t want to be weak. We don’t want to be needy. Rather than bringing our weariness to the light, we conceal it in the dark. We’d rather suffer alone than have others think we suffer at all.
But our so-called “selfless” sacrifices are a giant exercise in shooting ourselves in the foot—and firing rounds at those around us, too. Rather than finding grace in our humility, pride leads us into self-destruction (Proverbs 3:34, 16:18). And in the process, we stunt the growth of our brothers and sisters by keeping them from an opportunity to follow Christ’s call—to grow in godliness as they learn to bear our burdens. We not only fail to help, we do harm instead!
The church must fight against busyness and pride if we are to be what God has called us to be. If we are to serve one another in love, we can’t be so busy that we have no time to serve one another. If we are to serve one another in love, we can’t be so proud so that we never accept or allow anybody to serve us!
Christians have comfort to offer in Christ, but we must first be willing to mourn. When we do mourn and find comfort, we will begin to know the good life that Christ proclaims in Matthew 5:4: “BLESSED are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”