Busyness. It is the mantra of American culture in 2019. I know not all readers of this blog are living in the United States, but whether you do or not, the lessons we learn through it are universal.
I was listening to my pastor’s sermon last week and he was talking about busyness being one of the leading excuses for why people don’t get connected in a local church. As he was saying those words the thought hit me. “It’s not a matter of busyness, it is a matter of priorities. Everybody makes time for their priorities.”
I leaned over and told my wife this, and I soon as I did, those words came out of his mouth. Yeah, it was one of those moments.
It is true though. Our schedule is one of those things that ultimately we do have stewardship over. Stewardship is one of the great gifts and tasks that God has called us to fulfill. (Gen. 1:28)
Time is one of part of creation that we steward over. God calls us to steward it from the very beginning of creation.
In the New Testament Paul the apostle admonishes us to “make the most of your time, because the days are evil.” (Eph. 5:16)
The word for “making the most” in Greek literally means “redeeming.” Paul, earlier in the letter to the Ephesians, gives a detailed account of the gospel, and the intricacies of God’s sovereignty found within it.
Paul is essentially connecting the redeeming Christ has done towards us to our redeeming stewardship over our time. Christ redeems us, and those made in God’s image make the most the time God has given us by redeeming it, or buying it back from sin’s grip on it.
The first excuse we have about our busyness is that we have no say in it. Our schedule is made up. Think about that statement. You really do a big say in it.
If you have a demanding job schedule that negates carrying out other essential priorities in your life, you will always weigh which priorities are more valuable and adjust. We do it everyday, on a big or small scale, and consciously or unconsciously.
Being productive is great and rewarding, but being “busy” in the sense that our schedule stewards us instead of the other way around is bad. How many working fathers wish that they would of had more clarity earlier on in their careers about making their children more of a priority?
Many, that have mistakenly weighed the value of career aspirations over the value of their children, wish they could redeem the time.
There is no rewind button in this life, but there is redemption in Christ. Today is a day that priorities can be placed in God’s proper order. Sacrifices will have to be made for careers, successful relationships, and child rearing, there is no way around that. There is also a stewardship in deciding which sacrifices, how much, and what priorities come first.
Many of us weigh priorities wrong because we are seeking lesser things.
Im not picking on career minded people, it is just such an obvious and relevant example. Many say, I have to pay for this and this and this for my kids, so I have to work 60 -70 hours every week.
The truth is that you don’t have to, you choose to. If your kids are a more valuable priority than your job, but you have to sacrifice them to your job, it is time for a new job. You can change your career, but you can’t can’t change your kids, or their need of you.
America is living in excess by material standards and living in bankruptcy relationally. I think that is a good reflection of our priorities. Maybe good stewardship is needed to correct that. Those kids will grow up with stuff they don’t need while missing what they do need-their mother or father. Redeem that time by placing priorities where they belong.
Jesus said in Matthew 6:33, “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
Right before this verse he speaks about chasing after material things that God knows we need. then He shifts priorities and essentially says if you seek me then you will be given all of those lesser things. They are lesser because they are designed to reveal their source, not be your source.
Seek your source first and the provision will come naturally.
If you fall in love with the wrong things, your prioritize wrong things. Jesus also said, “for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matt. 6:21)
People get uncomfortable when their real priorities are brought into the light. The first thing people will do when that happens and reveals wrongly ordered priorities is make excuses and divert. The reality is that will just keep your heart in the wrong place.
If your treasure is Christ, and he is “your exceedingly great reward,” (Gen. 15:1) then your heart will be resting in his hands. The lesser things we focus on will be made peripheral to our true reward, and will be given freely.
In the end when your time is finished on this side of eternity, and you stand before Christ, any false treasure will be taken away. The only real treasure in the new heavens and the new earth will be Christ and Christ alone. He is the treasure that was spent to buy us back, so we can see for ourselves what is truly most valuable.