The Ugly Truth About How Busyness Affects Your Faith

The Ugly Truth About How Busyness Affects Your Faith

Our culture is consumed with busy schedules and perennial exhaustion. This often happens when we book our schedules to create the perception of overload, to feel productive, or to boost our self-esteem.

Perhaps this is because of pressure to succeed, to become something, to prove ourselves. But as Christians, we should be asking ourselves why this is the case. Is busyness biblical? How does it affect our faith and worldview? And what does scripture say?

Busyness affects how you experience life

But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. —Matthew 6:30-34

Nowhere in scripture does God say, “busy yourselves and I will be pleased.” Instead, He tells us to rest in His work because we don’t know what tomorrow will bring. Our lives are meant to honor and glorify God, and God is the one who defines what does and does not glorify him.

American culture fuels the idea that if someone is really busy, then they must be really important. And sometimes people intentionally create that perception as a way to feel productive and valuable in the world.

Busyness affects how you experience life

Rest encourages strength and healing

For six years you shall sow your land and gather in its yield, but the seventh year you shall let it rest and lie fallow, that the poor of your people may eat; and what they leave the beasts of the field may eat. You shall do likewise with your vineyard, and with your olive orchard. Six days you shall do your work, but on the seventh day you shall rest; that your ox and your donkey may have rest, and the son of your servant woman, and the alien, may be refreshed. —Ex 23:12

Busyness can become a wall that keeps us from being vulnerable and honest, and from having authentic relationships with each other and God. Pastor and best-selling author Kevin DeYoung echoes this in his short book about a really big problem, Crazy Busy. He encourages us to reject the “busyness as usual” mindset, arguing that a life of constant chaos is far from what God intends.

Sadly, those who use their busy schedules and responsibilities to boost their self-esteem often look down on those who have free time as lazy. This is a common scene in competitive environments like the academic or corporate world.

Matthew 11:28

In Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible, Henry explains further why God made the sabbath for man:

God did design it to be an advantage to us, and so we must make it, and improve it. He made if for man. He had some regard to our bodies in the institution, that they might rest, and not be tired out with the constant business of this world (Deu. 5:14); that thy man-servant and thy maid-servant may rest. Now he that intended the sabbath-rest for the repose of our bodies, certainly never intended it should restrain us, in a case of necessity, from fetching in the necessary supports of the body; it must be construed so as not to contradict itself—for edification, and not for destruction. (Henry, 1,781)

Rest is not only biblical—it’s practical. And in scripture, rest is a sign of strength. In fact, rest is such a big deal to God, that he commanded farmers in Exodus 23:12 to give their land a break. God knows that in order for even the land to flourish it needs time off.

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