Hustle and grind

FRONTLINES: Are we busy for the wrong reasons?

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Graphic: Getty Images

“This is a really busy week for me, but next week should be better.” I’ve been saying this almost every week for years, and “next week” is rarely better.

I live in San Jose, Calif., the heart of Silicon Valley where being busy is a badge of honor and “hustle” and “grind” are core values. People often complain about how busy they are yet deep-down hope others will be impressed.

But what if we are busy for the wrong reasons? What if we find success at the expense of our families? What if our schedules are full but not with the right things? What if we are impressing others but not Jesus? We may want to glorify Jesus with our schedules but are we trying to make sure a little bit of that glory comes our way too?

Our culture idolizes productivity and busyness, but we aren’t called to follow the pattern of this world (Romans 12:2). Scripture points us to a polar opposite posture: one of abiding.

Abiding in Jesus might prevent us from checking things off our to-do lists. Yet, for those of us aiming to serve the Lord, the results we seek are ultimately found through the power of Jesus, not by how hard we hustle. So then isn’t abiding in Jesus one of the most practical and effective things we can do?

In our busy lives, we may at times find an ugly truth present: we may not trust Jesus enough to slow down and abide in him. Because we think there is so much to do, we do not slow down to be present with him. We may find that we are trusting in our own understanding instead of God’s (Proverbs 3:5-6). Being still and knowing that he is God (Psalm 46:10) is difficult to put into our schedules.

What can abiding in Jesus look like in the midst of our busyness? Sometimes the answer is to stop everything to simply be alone with Jesus. When I think I’m too busy for that, I remember that Jesus often took time to be alone with his heavenly Father. I ask myself, “If Jesus regularly made space for that, how much more do I need to?”

When it seems like there aren’t enough hours in the day, abiding can be found by reading the Bible while eating breakfast or during family devotions at dinner time. It might be praying while completing a task at work. It could be listening to worship music, a sermon or a Christian podcast while driving. Abiding is faithfully seeking Jesus in every part of our lives: the big events and the everyday moments.

Abiding in Jesus won’t magically answer emails, create the worship slides or any of the other things that are on my plate for ministry. Abiding in Jesus may not change how much we get done, but it may change how people are changed by what you and I do accomplish.

I don’t think Jesus is necessarily against being busy. But in our busyness, he desires that our lives look different than others around us.

Let’s seek prayer over productivity. To rely on Jesus over results. To trust in him over our to-do lists. Jesus desires followers who abide in him no matter how busy their week might be.

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