08 Aug The Blackhole Of Busyness
Brothers and sisters, do you sometimes realise you are constantly in a state of busyness or whirled into the hustle and bustle of life? Not just physically, but even our minds and hearts are busy as well. When we are bounded in this way, we will always have this feeling like there is something we still have yet to do, or fear that we do not do our tasks well. For example, a student may feel that there are still many revision yet to be done, a worker might feel that there are assignments after assignments to clear, or a servant in a ministry might feel like they are not able to juggle and balance their roles in their personal and work lives. Now when these insinuations comes, not only are we busy, we are busy in an unhealthy way. Your busyness cannot allow you to see God’s grace daily but lose sight of it. Do you often hustle through life this way? Or are you right the midst of it now? If such is the case, our busyness will cause us to lose out in something very important— and that is the time to quiet down and reflect. We will not have the time or energy to think about our relationship with God, and we will not be able to to reflect if what we do is pleasing to Him. At times, we will also neglect the circumstances or feelings of the people around us. Let us look at the bible. In Luke 10: 40-42, it says “Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to Him (Jesus) and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.””
Now this is a familiar story to many of us, talking about Martha and her busyness. Although the subject that she wants to serve is Jesus, yet she was absorbed by the tasks and preparations. When she is busy with one thing, she realises there are more things to handle and more things yet to be completed. Thus, she spoke in a tone of frustration, implying that she is doing everything by herself and that it is unfair that her sister is not asked to help her out. Amid all these, she has already lose sight of God’s grace. In actual fact, we, in our everyday living, may fall into such state as well when we are too overwhelmed with work, studies, chores, child-caring or taking up the many other roles in our lives. We may start getting angry, resentful, bitter, negative or venting it out on others. Now let us think through: When we are always in this state of busyness, how then do we get along with the people around us? It may lead to us having many expectations, throwing demands around, or giving others an unseen pressure. Now is this the circumstance or relationships we might be in now? We may feel that your current situation does not allow us to live in such a carefree manner because there are indeed pile of things needed to be done each day. Family members to accompany, children to take care of, work tasks to fulfil and there really is not enough time. But dear brothers and sisters, if we were to follow according to our desires, not one person would ever have enough time. The Lord has given us 24 hours a day, so our spiritual attitude towards how we use this time is very important. Some of us may be slogging hard but at the end, the person may lose everything and not be able to enjoy the fruits of their labour. Some of us may be doing so well, but neglecting our loved ones, causing a tension or rift between spouses or children. To be honest, when we are in this state, we are actually in a vicious cycle of constantly falling, yet being unaware about it, blinded by our own busy life. The Lord tells us in Romans 12:2 not to conform to the world. However, our motives and attitudes in our lifestyle could be conforming to the successes of the world, material possessions to gain, recognition to earn and we forget that the spirit is more important than worldly “fruits”, surrendering to God is more valuable than achieving our idea of success. In other words, we are not introspecting if whatever we do is God’s “good, pleasing and perfect will”. Now, I am not saying that we should not strive or work hard. Brothers and sisters, what I am saying is that, we must confirm, if everything we do is tested and affirmed with God’s truth, we need not fret because the Lord will surely establish the work of our hands, and we will have peace, hope and strength as we do what we do. But how do we test and approve God’s will for us? Here, there are three principle questions we can look at:
The Harmony and Love With Others
Firstly, we can ask ourselves, when we are busy, are we still maintaining a harmonious and loving relationship with people around us? Do we have sufficient time with our family and loved ones? Do you have the energy to communicate with them? If you get agitated and short-tempered easily when you get busy, then we might not be relying on God in our work and roles, but relying on our own strength. However, if your tasks and chores are not affecting your relationship with those around you, then there will always be grace in your busyness.
Time To Examine Our Hearts
Next question we can introspect is, do you have time to reflect and examine your hearts when you are in your daily schedule? Now, in everything we do, there will be time where we make mistakes. Even if we do not do something wrongly, we may have a slip of a tongue. And even if we do not speak wrongly, we may have sinful thoughts as well. Therefore, a time to hold the brakes and come to the Lord to quiet down, to pray and to reflect upon our hearts and minds are crucial to our faith living. We need to be honest about our every motive and inclinations, and see if it is pleasing to God’s heart. Such a person is one who is alert of the spiritual warfare within themselves and is one that understands the power of prayers, because you see your weak points and know where you must surrender to the Lord.
Holding Onto Sabbath Day and Blessed Gatherings
Finally, you must ask: even though you are busy, are you still faithful in holding onto the blessed meetings on Sabbath Day and the fellowship with brethren? If you are so tied up in your work that you stop coming to Sunday Service, or even when you attend in person, but your heart is not able to take in the Word, then you are already bounded by your busy lifestyle. Let us not rationalise and say: “I am so busy with work, how can I possibly still attend church?” If your busyness stops your from enjoying the fellowship and gathering with your God-loving brothers and sisters, your busyness will slowly lose its direction. Then, others may say, “I need my own time to be quiet before the Lord, so I cannot join the church gathering.” But the truth is, your personal time with God is important, but your gathering with brethren is equally important. It is just like a married couple with kids. You cannot say that you will only give your attention to your kids, and neglect your spouse or the other way round. Both sides are equally important. When we have personal time with God, we are coming clean, seeing our need for God’s intervention and pray for His guidance and revelation. But when we are with brethren, we also see how God works in different people, how we can strengthen each other with testimonies, pray for and ask for prayers. Both time spent are pivotal to our faith. However, how are we to balance both? Do not choose one over the other but seek ways to make it happen. Be it to have better time management, prioritising matters or surrendering certain desires and expectations to God.
Brothers and sisters, to handle the busy lifestyle in this current era is no easy feat. But when we hear this and we have a heart to realign our living to restore our relationship with God, the church and our brethren, it is a stepping stone to seeking and discovering ways that God can guide us to better balance our worldly and faith living so that we become more and more one-hearted with Him in all we do.