Mind Your Own Busyness
In the tenth chapter of Luke’s gospel we see that Jesus is not scared to give people seasons of ‘busyness’. However at the end of the chapter he makes a point of tackling a problem we all find ourselves falling into if we’re not careful. The issue Jesus highlights isn’t ‘external busyness’, but ‘existential busyness’ or as He puts it, ‘DISTRACTION’.
In his brilliant book, Crazy Busy, Kevin DeYoung suggests that this kind of existential busyness, or distraction, causes more Western Christians to waste their lives than anything else.
If you want to listen to the talk from our Catalyst session then clink this link: MIND YOUR OWN BUSYNESS
Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.
SIX SIGNS that we’re DISTRACTED
– We keep missing opportunities to hear from God because we find ourselves preoccupied by other commitments and chores.
– When we do have the opportunity, God’s teaching becomes background noise and doesn’t bear much fruit. (Matthew 13:22 ‘… this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful’)
– Our emotions start to control us. We find ourselves becoming short-tempered and often needing to apologise to people we care about.
– We become self-centred in front of God. We find ourselves only praying when we need or want something and not having much time for praise or meditation.
– We start to think God doesn’t care about us and our commitments.
– We become disillusioned & delusional about life and God. We start to think that our plans are more important than God’s, we begin to think things about God and his character that we know are not true.
FIVE DANGERS of DISTRACTION
– It can cause us to lose our joy, and even become resentful, in serving God and others. The ‘Joy of the Lord’ should be our strength, enabling to live effective lives for God. If we lose that, we start to run on our own strength and risk falling into bitterness towards God and the church.
– We gain a false sense of self-importance and pride. Our calendar and our priorities become more important than anyone else’s.
– It covers spiritual corrosion or hardening in our hearts. The constant refrain of ‘I don’t have time for this’ will eventually be our downfall, when we are forced to take time out by illness, serious sin or burnout.
– We risk missing out on something that Jesus might want to do with us or say to us. It’s impossible to lose what God has given us (i.e. salvation), but it is possible to miss out on what he has planned for us or what he wants to say to us in the future.
– We become too attached to things that will one day fade away. Mary had chosen the ‘good portion that would never be taken from her’. Many of the things that distract us will not have lasting eternal significance and will one day be taken from us.
FOUR SOLUTIONS to DISTRACTION
– Look at the cross and believe that God primarily cares about you, not what you do. God has a lot more to offer you than anything you could ever offer him. So take time to sit at his feet, rather than expecting him to sit at yours.
– Reassess your necessities. Make time with God* a priority in your calendar, alongside eating, sleeping, going to work and checking Facebook!
– Choose God today. ‘The devoted life doesn’t choose you, you choose the devoted life’
– Take time to actively listen. Sitting at Jesus’ feet should drive out fear and anxiety, replacing it with peace and joy. If this isn’t happening, then maybe you’re not actively listening?
*Time with God has meant many different things for many different people over the centuries. It doesn’t only mean sitting on your own in the morning with a Bible and a cup of coffee. Paul tells the Colossians to ‘let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God’. This includes getting together on Sundays, as small groups, one-on-one, listening to sermons, having spiritual conversations as you walk in the park etc… Sitting at Jesus’ feet is not meant to be predominantly a solitary experience, but rather should be shared with other members of our local and wider churches.