Next time you are in a group of preachers, listen to the conversation. Within 5 minutes, the topic of discussion is likely to be how busy each one is. We wear our busyness like a badge of honor; justifying our existence, our ministry and our paychecks by the activity we perform.
When I was a youth pastor (back before fire and the wheel), I would spend a lot of time just hanging out with the teens in the group. We played cards together. I went running with some of them. We went to movies together. I thought that if I was going to be their youth pastor, I had to be part of their lives. I spent a lot of time doing that kind of thing. Then, one day, a young lady who had been visiting our church looked at me and asked me, “Dave, what do you do for a living?” Aargh!
I have been moaning and groaning about busyness recently. This has been a demanding time at my church, and I’m trying not to neglect SBC Voices too egregiously. I am also trying to work on two houses. We are trying to sell my son’s house, which we renovated, and I’ve been renovating the basement of our house as an apartment for him, his wife and their soon-to-be born daughter. Both places need a lot of work. So, I’ve been going, going, going.
So have you. When you are in the ministry, there is this reality – no matter how much work you do, there is always work left undone. If you witness to 100 people today, there are still thousands lost all around you! Never once, in 32 years of full-time ministry have I ever gotten all my work done. Ministry is just a matter of how much of your important work you leave undone each day. No matter how much you do, there is more that you didn’t do.
But here is the problem.
I don’t think that all my busyness makes me a better pastor. In fact, I may be a better servant to my Lord and my people when I have some downtime, time to think, reflect, pray – when I am NOT so busy.
There is balance here, of course. We don’t have to choose between workaholism and laziness. I don’t have time to develop this thought (I’m headed out to power-wash our deck), but I’d just like you to think about this. Something drives us preachers to act as if our busyness somehow justifies our existence. But simply filling our days rushing around from thing to thing may not actually be spiritually productive. I suspect our busyness is driven too much by a desire to please man and be thought well of by our people.
Perhaps we need to slow down a little and seek God, seek wisdom, seek the Word, seek the direction of the Spirit, rather than just filling our days with activity. Perhaps, sometimes, the best thing we can do is slow down a little, delegate, prioritize, and give our minds and hearts to the pursuit of God. Not to even mention time we devote to our families – that’s another post entirely!
Just a quick thought. I’m so busy I don’t have time to say any more about it. See how good a pastor I am?