What the Bible Says About Being Too Busy

“It’ll be faster if I just do it myself.”

“I don’t want to bother anyone, so I’ll squeeze it into my schedule.”

“I don’t mind helping out.”

“I like being busy.”

Do any of these phrases sound familiar? I’ve caught several of the words above escaping my mouth lately. And with those words come the accompanying justification in my mind that says:

Productivity is a good thing. After all, “…every good tree bears good fruit.”

I want to be a good tree. I want to bear good fruit. So how do I know when being productive turns into being too busy?

I always thought Martha was misunderstood. Jesus gently pointed out that Mary had chosen the right way. Mary resolved to spend time worshipping her Lord, but my practical nature can’t help but wonder. If Martha hadn’t been in the kitchen, what would everyone have eaten? Would it display Christ-like character to let your guests go hungry?

I can’t imagine inviting guests into my home and not having anything prepared for them to eat or drink. That’s the defining trait of the do-er. But sometimes, all that doing leaves little time for the most important thing.

Martha and I aren’t the only ones who needed this lesson.

“There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus. Peter said to Jesus, ‘Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.’” Matthew 17:2-4 NIV

Peter was a do-er too. He didn’t like to sit around and wait for things to happen. As a result, he sometimes missed the moments of peace God desired to give.

I can identify with Peter’s actions in the passage above. I know I would’ve done the same thing. With the sinless Son of God standing before me, shining like the sun, I can see myself frantically scurrying about. Do you guys need anything? Here, let me make you a place to sit.

Lord, help me.

Thankfully, from God’s divine words that followed, we learn a valuable lesson for those times when we let ourselves get too busy. Let’s see how God responded to Peter’s gesture.

“While he was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, ‘This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!’” Matthew 17:5

God knew Peter’s heart, and He knew why Peter responded to this life-changing moment with an act of busyness disguised as an act of service.

Because do-ers like to feel needed, accepted, valued.

So God got Peter’s attention. He interrupted Peter while he spoke and commanded him to listen.

From Peter’s experience that day, we can glean a simple yet important truth.

Being busy can get in the way of hearing God speak. (Tweet this.)

Does God need to interrupt me and tell me to listen? Or will I be ready when the moment arrives?

Being busy is not always a bad thing, and yes, being fruitful is good. But it is possible to get too busy and miss the peace God has given us.

God already values us more than anything. We don’t need to earn it. So as we go about following schedules today, let’s listen for God’s voice. May His words speak volumes to our longing hearts.

Kristine

Reminding Ourselves of God's Goodness

The following is an excerpt from chapter 8 of Kristine's book, Over It. Conquering Comparison to Live Out God's Plan. To download the free Study Guide, or to find out more about the book, visit the book page here.

 

Though my sweet mother-in-law mentioned in the book has since gone to be with our Savior in heaven, the lessons I learned from Miss Maulene will stay with me forever.

 

“When the child was weaned, Hannah took him to the Tabernacle in Shiloh. They brought along a three-year-old bull for the sacrifice and a basket of flour and some wine. After sacrificing the bull, they brought the boy to Eli. ‘Sir, do you remember me?’ Hannah asked. ‘I am the very woman who stood here several years ago praying to the Lord.’” (1 Sam. 1:24-26).

My precious mother-in-law writes everything down. For as long as I can remember, I picture her sitting in her chair under the dim light of the side table lamp, penning the events of the day. She writes about who comes to visit, the weather, phone calls received, and anything else that reminds her of God’s goodness in her life.

At ninety years old, she still journals every single day. She also keeps her journals, so she can remember.

From her example I have discovered the benefits of writing things down. Some refer to this as a prayer journal—a place to write down our prayers and record how God responds to those prayers. Before I began journaling, I had a hard time remembering all God had done in my life—the miracles, the changes, the answers.

Writing things down cures this short-term memory loss.

In fact, in 20 Ways to Improve Your Memory, an article by psychology expert Kendra Cherry, writing things down is noted as an important tool for boosting memory.

That annoying comparison monster would love for us to forget God’s blessings and begin looking at others with envy. Hannah gives a great demonstration on how to remember, which brings us to our faith statement for this chapter:

We quiet the unwelcome voice of comparison by reminding ourselves of God's goodness. (Tweet this.)

I adore Hannah’s enthusiasm in this Scripture as she approached Eli! I imagine her eyes wide, wanting to take him back to that memory not so long ago when they both experienced God’s presence in such a real way. It was as if she was saying, “Don’t you remember, Eli? We stood right in this very spot when it happened! You and I both saw and heard what God did. Wasn’t it marvelous?”

She went on telling Eli more about the developments since that magnificent day …

“I asked the Lord to give me this boy, and he has granted my request. Now I am giving him to the Lord, and he will belong to the Lord his whole life” (1 Sam. 1:28a).

Have you ever received wonderful news, and you couldn’t wait to share it with someone? The kind of news that made you want to call a special person right away, just so they could rejoice with you?

Hannah received the best news of all in the form of a baby boy, but she had to wait a few years to share this incredible report with Eli. She knew he would be the one to appreciate it the most. After all, God used him to speak the prophecy of Samuel’s birth. Now the time had come. Bursting with anticipation, she told Eli the good news. And as the person who would appreciate it most, Eli praised God with her.

“And they worshiped the Lord there” (1 Sam. 1:28b).

As Hannah gave her only son Samuel back to God, she should have been heartbroken. I know I would have been, for sure. But Hannah pressed through potential feelings of worry, fear, and heartbreak. She let go of the what-ifs and uncertainty about the future. She placed herself in an attitude of rejoicing, thanksgiving, and praise.

Remember our faith statement from chapter four? Hannah was all over it…

(To read more about Hannah and other women in Scripture who won the battle with comparison, visit the book page to check out Over It.)