The real reason why we are busy
Being busy doesn’t guarantee that we accumulate value. The Bible states that a meaningful life is one which is quiet, restful, peaceful and joyful. Instead, it is the “wicked” who have no rest. How can we slow down and resist the temptation to be busy all the time?
1 Thessalonians 4:11 NLT Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we instructed you before.
Isaiah 57:20-21 NLT “But those who still reject me are like the restless sea, which is never still but continually churns up mud and dirt. There is no peace for the wicked,” says my God.
Busy-ness is not from God
God has never called us to be busy. In fact, God warns us to not to wear ourselves out trying to gain security, earthly riches or human knowledge. Our lives are not made more meaningful with such things.
Proverbs 23:4 NIV Do not wear yourself out to get rich; do not trust your own cleverness.
The enlightened writer in Ecclesiastes confessed, “The greater my wisdom, the greater my grief. To increase knowledge only increases sorrow.” He observed that “No matter how much we see, we are never satisfied. No matter how much we hear, we are not content. History merely repeats itself.”
Ecclesiastes 1:17-18 NLT So I set out to learn everything from wisdom to madness and folly. But I learned firsthand that pursuing all this is like chasing the wind. The greater my wisdom, the greater my grief. To increase knowledge only increases sorrow.
Ecclesiastes 1:8-9 NLT Everything is wearisome beyond description. No matter how much we see, we are never satisfied. No matter how much we hear, we are not content. History merely repeats itself…
He concluded that “there is nothing better than to enjoy food and drink and to find satisfaction in work” and that all such blessings are from God. Our Creator will dispense the wisdom and wealth that we need for His purposes. All else is frivolous and meaningless, like “chasing the wind“.
Ecclesiastes 2:24 NLT So I decided there is nothing better than to enjoy food and drink and to find satisfaction in work. Then I realized that these pleasures are from the hand of God.
The real reasons we keep busy
The world’s motto of “carpe diem” tells us to make the most of each day. Our world’s busy-ness is driven by a subconscious desire to sustain value and meaning in life. Over and above our basic necessities, we are busy acquiring greater favour, more money, better schooling, higher status, improved health, enhanced beauty, more knowledge and so forth. We need to be careful because such desires typically only lead to spiritual ruin and eternal destruction.
1 Timothy 6:6-9 ESV But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.
The real reason many of us are so busy is due to fear. Fear holds us back from resting and trusting that God will meet all our needs. Fear robs us of the ability to be still and worship Him. It rips away the peace, hope and joy that we have from God.
Psalm 46:10 NASB “Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”
Here are some of our fears and what God’s Word has to say to us.
|Our fears||What God says|
|1. Fear of abandonment||Deuteronomy 31:8 ESV It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”|
|2. Fear of failure||James 1:5 ESV If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.|
|3. Fear of growing old||Isaiah 40:31 ESV but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.|
|4. Fear of loneliness||Matthew 28:20 ESV … And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”|
|5. Fear of losing out||Matthew 6:32-34 ESV For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.|
|6. Fear of not fitting in||2 Corinthians 10:18 NLT When people commend themselves, it doesn’t count for much. The important thing is for the Lord to commend them.|
|7. Fear of rejection||Psalm 27:10 NLT Even if my father and mother abandon me, the LORD will hold me close.|
|8. Fear of suffering||1 Peter 5:10 ESV And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.|
|9. Fear of uncertainty||James 4:13-15 ESV Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.”|
|10. Fear of not having enough||Matthew 6:26-17 ESV Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?|
Use our time wisely, know God’s will
The apostle Paul calls us to make the best use of our time, but he tells us to do so wisely because we are surrounded by many temptations to use it foolishly.
Ephesians 5:15-17 ESV Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.
2 Corinthians 5:10 ESV For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.
One day, we will all have to face the One who gave us life. God will ask us to account for how we have used our time on earth.
- Our lives | Will He consider all that we have accumulated in life “junk” that is utterly worthless and evil?
- Relationship | Will He be offended that we didn’t trust Him for all our needs?
- Testimony | Will He show us all the times we profaned His name through our lack of faith, joy and spiritual freedom?
- Rest | Will He point to all the times we didn’t give our bodies, temples of His Spirit, ample rest?
God is present everywhere and watches everything we do. Doing anything more or less than God’s will for us is senseless and irresponsible. God calls such things evil. Thank God we still have time to repent and turn away from any frivolous use of our time. It is much better to be live out our days in God’s rest.
Understanding God’s rest
Where God is present, there is rest. God’s rest is much more than a physical one. It is not about sleeping, relaxing or going on holiday.
Exodus 33:14 ESV And he said, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”
The Lord’s rest involves our hearts, souls and minds. It brings a deep peace and satisfaction throughout our entire being.
- Rest for our hearts | John 14:27 ESV Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.
- Rest for our minds | Isaiah 26:3 ESV You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.
- Rest for our souls | Jeremiah 31:25 ESV For I will satisfy the weary soul, and every languishing soul I will replenish.”
To experience God’s rest, we first need to drop our unfounded insecurities. Our Heavenly Father knows all our needs and desires, because He was the One who placed them in us in the first place. Who better than our Creator to satisfy our entire being?
Ezekiel 36:26 ESV And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.
Psalm 37:4,7 ESV Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices!
Turning away from evil
The busy-ness of this world can drown out God’s Spirit in us and lead us down a path of “wickedness” that God did not intend for us. We may think that we have great plans and will accomplish great things, but as long we do them without God’s blessing, it will all come to nothing. Let’s remember that doing anything more or less that God’s will is senseless and irresponsible.
James 4:13-16 ESV Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil.
Instead, we need to slow down and make time to enter God’s rest and seek His will. May our Lord call us “good and faithful servants” for making wise choices on our time on earth.
Hebrews 4:11 NLT So let us do our best to enter that rest. But if we disobey God, as the people of Israel did, we will fall.
Matthew 25:23 NIV “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’
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