“Come away with Me for a while. The world, with its nonstop demands can be put on hold. Most people put Me on hold, rationalizing that someday they will find time to focus on Me. But the longer people push Me into the background of their lives, the harder it is for them to find Me.” — Jesus Calling, by Sarah Young
I read the above sentences in the midst of a leadership retreat where we were beginning to ask ourselves, “Are we doing too much busy work and not enough faith work?” If you want to be around a bunch of Type A, ultra busy, super organized, high-octane people, you should consider hanging around this group.
“You live among people who glorify busyness; they have made time a tyrant that controls their lives. Even those who know Me as Savior tend to march to the tempo of the world. They have bought into the illusion that more is always better: more meetings, more programs, more activity.” — Jesus Calling
Yet, we too yearn for a better balance of less “work at it” and more “faith in You.” Without ignoring our obligations, how can we carve out more time to listen, to discern the will of God in the midst of our activity?
Too much busyness and not enough listening to the One who leads us, is like your car getting stuck in the mud. You push on the accelerator and the wheels turn faster. The roar of the engine, the mud flying in all directions, and the smoke rising are all signs of frantic activity; but the object of all the activity, namely your car, is going nowhere. You push the gas pedal harder making the wheels spin even faster, creating ever more noise, flying mud, and rising smoke. Yet the object of all the activity still sits there stuck in the mud.
“I have called you to follow Me on a solitary path, making time alone with Me your highest priority and deepest joy. It is a pathway largely unappreciated and often despised. However, you have chosen the better thing, which will never be taken away from you. Moreover, as you walk close to Me, I can bless others through you.” — Jesus Calling
Or … you could stop the frantic activity and step out of the car. After looking at the situation more calmly, you realize the need to do something different in order to release your car from the mud. Looking around you see a board that could be placed in front of a wheel. This allows your tire to gain needed traction. As you get back in the car, you push the accelerator again but slowly this time, easing the car forward, then backward creating a rocking motion allowing the car to find the grip of the board and free itself from the muddy trap.
- “I have called you to follow me …” is a reminder that we are on earth not to see how busy we can be but to find God’s will for our lives and follow the will of God wherever the path leads.
- “… making time alone with me your highest priority and deepest joy.” When was the last time you took concentrated time to be alone with God? For me, the answer is, “not nearly often enough.” When was the last time you considered your time alone with God to be your deepest joy?
- “It is a pathway largely unappreciated and often despised.” For busy people, stopping the busyness is difficult, almost impossible. Lack of activity could be interpreted as laziness. I despise laziness.
- “However, you have chosen the better thing …” Stopping the activity and stepping out of the current situation is not to be despised—it is the better thing. In the midst of stopping and listening, you often discover a better way.
Okay … stop! Read the above sentences again, out loud and slowly.
Are you busily spinning wheels, throwing up plenty of mud and smoke but essentially going nowhere? Maybe it’s time to stop, step away for a moment, and make time for the God who created you, has a plan for you, and is looking for an opportunity to guide and encourage you.
“Moreover as you walk close to Me, I can bless others through you.” Not only will you personally benefit from spending time with God but those who watch you, depend upon you, learn from you, lean on you, love you, or even despise you will be blessed by your willingness to change, to listen, to more closely follow God’s guidance.
In Luke, Martha was frantically preparing a meal for Jesus and the Disciples. Mary, who was supposed to be helping her, instead sat at Jesus’ feet listening to his teaching. At one point, Martha, frustrated and overworked, asked Jesus, “Tell her to help me.”
Jesus calmly replied, “But only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” — Luke 10:42
At the leadership retreat, the most important decision we made during our three days together was to enter into a covenant with each other to frequently stop and spend more time listening to God, whether in meetings, in our small groups, or alone.
Busyness is good but not at the expense of missing out on listening to God’s voice.
You could wind up trapped in a mud hole busily spinning tires, throwing up mud, and creating lots of noise and smoke.
Stop. Step away and listen for God’s still quiet voice. It may be the most important decision of your life.
About Larry Davies
Larry Davies is currently the Lynchburg, Virginia District Superintendent for 89 United Methodist Churches. He has been the pastor of small, medium, and large churches. For many years, Larry managed and trained sales people in the automobile business. He is also the author of Live the Light: Five Weeks to a Light that Shines and three other books. Larry is the founder of Sowing Seeds of Faith, a worldwide prayer ministry and writing ministry, www.SowingSeedsofFaith.com. His columns and blog posts appear in several newspapers, magazines, and websites. Larry is a graduate of Virginia Tech and received his Master of Divinity at Duke University. Mell, Larry’s wife, recently retired from Concord Elementary School. Larry’s oldest son Stephen is married to Brandy, and they have a one-year-old bundle of energy, Jackson. Larry’s daughter Lisa is engaged to be married to Bobby. He and Mell also have a lively but older Springer Spaniel named Daisy.