If you’re busy and you know it clap your hands….Now get back to work you slacker!
We are all suffering from the disease – the dis-ease – of of what someone has called “hurry sickness.” We glory in telling others how busy we are, we justify our Sabbaths and relaxation with movement and activity just so whoever may be spying on us can be reassured that even when we “rest” we do not slack off!
Hurry sickness is a perverse god of the modern age. It demands and promises more and more whilst fulfilling and satisfying less and less. Dude, get over yourself, how important do you really think you are to the turning of this world? In order to prove ourselves to others (and to ourselves), we work through our coffee breaks often, take shorter lunch breaks – food is for losers; time is money – and slowly squeeze play and contemplation from our lives. After all, what consumer driven society such as the Western world wants people to stop and think!
At best we rush to the cinema or theatre, rushing to and fro for our entertainment, puffed and panting, showing we must be important hence the reason for the puffing and panting! Well, at least it proves you’re still breathing, but the question is, are you living? Maybe you can ponder that as you sit down quietly judging all those lazy slackers who arrived in plenty of time and actually seem to be enjoying themselves, the cheek of it!
Many people see busyness as a fact of modern life, and it is true that many aspects of that other Molech-like god called ‘technology’ demands so much more from us whilst all the while promising us more time to be with our ready-made perfect family, hair all done nicely and teeth shining brilliant white….oh, and the smiles and laughter, we’re such fun to be around!
But in reality, we’re out of control and we know it. We are control freaks. But the joke’s on us: we have no control, that’s why we’re so busy trying to claw at it, as it titillates and tantalizes us with more power and more promise. It’s a false god with false promises. We need to repent.
An ancient Zen story captures our disease perfectly: A man is standing beside the pathway in a desert. He sees a ball of sand rising into the air on the horizon. It is moving, coming towards him very fast. He hears the sounds of horse’s hooves. Then he sees the horse, being ridden by a man. The standing man shouts, “Where are you going? What’s the rush?” The man on the horse shouts back through the sand storm, “I don’t know, ask the horse!”
We may well change the horse for a phone and ask, “Who are you talking to?” “I don’t know, ask the phone!”
Eugene Peterson writes that “the word busy is the symptom not of commitment but of betrayal. It is not devotion but defection.” Then addressing specifically pastors in churches, that I think could also be for Christians in general, he adds, “The adjective busy set as a modifier to pastor (or Christian in their life of faith and discipleship – my words), should sound to our ears like adulterous to characterize a wife or embezzling to describe a banker. It is an outrageous scandal, a blasphemous affront.”
Strong words and I’m sure painful to all those ensnared in the adulterous grip of busyness. It is an affront to grace and the providence of God because we substitute simple child-like trust for a life of busyness that by our means we achieve all that God has promised us. And we don’t, in reality, even achieve anything. We are empty shells indeed.
If you have not been too busy to read this, thank you but stop right now and pray. Trust God afresh today. Turn your phone off, go for a walk, to simply enjoy the walk. Smile and laugh. Notice things. Walk in the rain without a coat! Waste your time, it belongs to God anyway! You belong to God anyway!