It seems like no matter what someone has going on, if you ask them how things are, “busy” is their quickest and most common response.
In fact, somehow it seems we have substituted busyness for productivity. We think that the more obligations that we have, the more progress that we have made. Our calendar becomes a thermometer for our self-worth – the more filled it is, the better we feel about the contribution that we are making.
Of course, the problem is that busyness and productivity are not synonymous. Our rush of activity can actually distract us from doing the things that are most important. Our occupation with getting things done, can leave that which is most valuable incomplete.
Martha is a great example of this (Lk. 10:38-42). She had the Lord Jesus Christ sitting in her house and instead of taking the time to listen to Him and worship Him, she was running around crossing things off of her to-do list.. Most of us would equate this with being a good hostess, but Christ didn’t. He said that her sister Mary had chosen what was better – she had chosen to spend time with Him.
But have you ever read what it says about Martha? Luke 10:40 says that she “was distracted with much serving.” She was so focused on serving that it caused her to forget the reason for her service. She was so intent on doing the work that she forgot Who she was working for. She wanted to be busy, even if being busy meant neglecting her Lord.
I fear we often do the same. We fill our lives to the brim and at any given church service there are more opportunities to do more. And of course, we should serve; Scripture makes it clear that the world will know that we are Christ’s by our love for one another and that one of the ways we can show our love is by serving our bothers and sisters in Christ. But service is not the end-game. Bringing glory to God is. If our service distracts us from this purpose, then our service ceases to be something that is being used by Him and instead becomes about us.
People may read this and think that the answer to this quandary then is to stop serving so much. However, Christ also makes it clear that we should go the extra mile in our service to one another (Mt. 5:41). The answer then isn’t to cut back on our service but it is to remember the reason why we serve. We need to realize that when we give to one another, we are giving to Christ. We need to not let the busyness of our service distract us from the greater purpose of bringing Him praise. And we need to recognize that we need to be busy about His work, and let our own to-do list be dictated by Him.