The Busy Christians Guide to Busyness by Tim Chester
This is one of the best books I have read dealing with the sin of busyness. I say "sin" because busyness is a terrible distraction from the life God planned for us.
Reflect on the Gospels: Jesus never rushes. When life becomes too busy he withdraws to pray: (Matthew 14:23, 26:36; Luke 9:28).
Contrast that with our lives: rushing from one thing to the next, always tired, always connected, not enough sleep, always more things to do for God, more housework, more work, more people to be cared for, more fun to be had.
On the 26th of May on the Sydney Anglicans website, Michael Kellahan blogged on workaholic Christians. It sparked an interesting discussion of the theology of work and play and rest, and how to be different.
Tim Chester contrasts our work-centred ethic (work is good, leisure is bad) and our leisure-centred ethic (leisure is good, work is bad) with a Bible-centred ethic: work hard (Proverbs 6:6-11, Matthew 25:14-30, 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12) and rest well (Genesis 2:1-3, Exodus 20:8-11, eschatological = Hebrews 4:10-11); and do both to the glory of God (Proverbs 8:30-31, 1 Timothy 4:4-5).
He gives four key steps to addressing busyness:
Step 1: Use your time efficiently
Step 2: Sort out your priorities
Step 3: Glorify God all the time
Step 4: Identify the desires of your heart that make you try to do more than God expects of you
Step 4 is where Chester offers some very useful tips. He comments that there are six lies that we believe and that distract us from being the best we can be for God:
"¢ I need to prove myself (versus the liberating rest of God)
"¢ I try to meet other's expectations (versus the liberating fear of God)
"¢ If I don't do it, everything will get out of control (versus the liberating rule of God)
"¢ I work best under pressure (versus the liberating refuge of God)
"¢ I have to be busy because I need the money (versus the liberating joy of God)
"¢ I have to make the most out of life (versus the liberating hope of God)
He concludes with how to find rest in the midst of busyness, including some very challenging ideas: "Instead of measuring our lives in terms of tasks done and left undone, we should evaluate them in terms of time well spent or not well spent."
The measuring of time well spent is in light of taking God with us into our busyness and assessing our work in terms of openness to God's priorities.
Ultimately we need to remember Jesus' promise:
Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. (Matthew 11:28-29)