Too busy for our own good

time use chartAre you too busy?  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the average worker with children works 8.8 hours, sleeps 7.6 hours, spends 2.5 hours in leisure and sports, 1.2 hours caring for others, 1.1 hours in household activities, and 1.1 hours eating and drinking, which leaves 1.7 hours for a variety of other things in any given twenty-four hour period.

There is nothing wrong with being busy.  Those who manage their time well and discipline themselves to set and achieve the priorities they set are admired. They are known as people who take care of business.  Busyness can have a sinister side, however, when a person has more to do than they can handle.  Wisdom counsels against busyness because it often leads to depression, ill health and low self-esteem due to the lack of quality such effort often produces.

Are you too busy?  Have you ever sat down and considered just what it means to be too busy? If not, you probably are.  You may be treading water instead of swimming toward a goal.  Important people, values, and dreams probably are being left to wither on life’s vine.

How many of us are so busy we don’t have time for our families, much less our friends? In a recent New Yorker cartoon, a man staring at his date book speaks calmly into the phone: “How is never? Is never good for you?”

Rabindranath Tagore said, “They who are too busy doing good find no time to be good.”  What does it mean to be good?  Surely last week’s focus on the blessings mothers are offer clues to anyone willing to ponder the question. Fortunately, people of faith are realizing we are producing Christian activities faster than we are creating faith in ourselves and others.  It seems we are so busy serving God we don’t have time to know and experience God.

Jesus addressed the problem of busy and busyness while in the home of Martha and Mary.  To host guests in Jesus’ day entailed a lot of work.  Martha was busy cooking and caring for her guests even as her sister ignored the normal priorities to soak up the teaching of the Master.

Martha had every right to complain and she did. Jesus told 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.”  Sometimes we are so busy trying to solve our own problems that we forget to listen to the One who has the solutions.

Eugene Peterson said, “The word busy is the symptom not of commitment but of betrayal.”  Taking care of business entails setting priorities based on what we value, then taking action steps to accomplish them.  To take on more than we can or should handle prevents the accomplishment of our greatest goals and dreams.  Busyness becomes betrayal.

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