“I’m Busy” is Not a Badge of Honor

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Wayne Muller says, in his book Sabbath, “If we do not allow for a rhythm of rest in our overly busy lives, illness becomes our Sabbath – our pneumonia, our cancer, our heart attack, our accidents create Sabbath for us.”

This quote reminds me of the principle I have heard before about the need to prioritize certain activities even when we claim to have no time for them.

A father who seemingly has no time to attend to his son in the “day to day” will drop everything to be with him if he is injured in an accident or is suffering a personal hardship. We always find time for what is important when there is a crisis. Instead of waiting for a crisis we are to prioritize what matters most before a crisis hits.

This is the same with practicing the Sabbath. My body will force me to rest. My mind will go into a place that doesn’t require thinking, like when I’m vegging out on TV or when I sleep in on Saturday. All the things I thought were too important for me to lay aside and prevent my rest will still be there after I’ve been too sick or too tired.

When I let the proverbial “chips fall” someone else will either pick them up or they will remain where they are and I will realize that they weren’t as urgent as I had originally thought.

Ruth Haley Barton says,

“The point of the Sabbath is to honor our need for a sane rhythm of work and rest. It is to honor the body’s need for rest, the spirit’s need for replenishment and the soul’s need to delight itself in God for God’s own sake.”

Instead, we honor insane rhythms of work because we have normalized busyness. In fact to say “I’m busy” doesn’t even mean anything anymore. It’s the newest version of the answer “I’m fine” when asked “How are you?”

“I’m busy” gets you no sympathy because we are all busy and trying to convince someone that you are in fact “very busy” makes you appear small and petty.

“I’m busy” is your greatest enemy to practicing Sabbath rest.

Practicing Sabbath rest is the answer to the inflated pride found in saying “I’m busy.” It’s the counter to “I’m important.”

Don’t appear small in your desire sound like you have a lot on your plate.

Choose to be small in terms of your self-importance, self-reliance, success, and self-sufficiency.

Instead of saying “I’m busy,” say, “I am not God” and “I have limitations.”

This is the confession of the Sabbath. Take rest and you will be free to rediscover God’s forgotten mercy and grace in the furious pace of the rush.

Why do you think we choose to honor busyness and not rest?

Jovan preaches for the Littleton Church of Christ near Denver, Colorado. Visit here to listen to sermons preached by Jovan.

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