Overcoming Sin through Christ : Busyness

  Overcoming Sin through Christ

A Comprehensive List of Sins

(Alphabetically Arranged)

Richard Hollerman

The plan of this study is simple.  We will look at a large number of sins, one by one, alphabetically.  We will define the sin, describe it, and comment on it, along with noticing Scripture references on the particular entry.  Some illustrations will be offered along with the description.

Busyness

How busy are you in life? Do you find your life so filled, so absolutely packed, with good and wholesome activities, that you fail to really accomplish what is most important in life? Does your busy lifestyle detract from your spiritual activities and your personal devotion to the Lord? Do you so occupy yourself with good and worthwhile pastimes that you fail to achieve what should be your priorities? Are you too busy? Are you addicted to “busyness”?

Generally the term busy is a positive one and deserves to be placed in a list of virtues!  It can mean “actively and attentively engaged, especially in work,”[1] and means “engaged in activity; occupied.”[2]  Elsewhere in this study, we have emphasized our need to be occupied and should be “always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that [our] toil is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58).  But this is a case in which a worthy virtue, in some cases, may become a vice.  Busy can also mean “cluttered with detail to the point of being distracting,”[3] or “cluttered with small, fussy details.”[4]

Do you remember the account of Jesus’ visit to the house of Martha who was preparing a meal for the Lord and His disciples (Luke 10:38-42)?  The record states that “Martha was distracted with all her preparations,” while Mary “was seated at the Lord’s feed, listening to His word” (vv. 39-40).  Eating was appropriate and the preparation of the food would have been right in certain circumstances.  But this blessed visit from Jesus should have meant hanging on His life-giving words.  Jesus was the priority here—not food.  Jesus said to Martha, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her” (vv. 41-42).  Martha was troubled with her “busyness” while Mary was engrossed in the inspired words of her Lord.  What would we have done?

We can become so busy that we don’t have time or even interest in praying to our Father.  We can become so busy with housework or our job or yard work that we don’t give lengths of time to our Bible reading and Bible study as we should.  We can be so busy with our daily work (and play) that we don’t have the important fellowship with other believers that we and they need.  We can become so engrossed with running errands, with going places, with even wholesome exercise, that the spiritual is crowded out with the material, secular, and physical.

Because we are constantly on the go, visiting with people, talking on the phone with a friend, shopping for things we don’t need, or actively engaged in other “busy” things, we lose our contact with God.  We lose “the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension” (Philippians 4:7), and fail to enjoy the rich times with God in prayer that we need and God wants (Proverbs 15:8). 

Because we are so busy, our mind becomes filled with information, with facts, with figures, with dates, with schedules, with persons, with desires, with memories, and we fail to have the inner calm and peace of mind that promotes deep spirituality.  Even Jesus, whose life was filled with preaching and teaching and healing, needed to draw aside and find time exclusively for the Lord.  He would rise “in the early morning” to pray (Mark 1:35) or go to a mountain and spend “the whole night in prayer to God” (Luke 6:12). We need to lay aside our busyness sometimes and seek God alone!

We can become so “busy” with unnecessary things, that we fail the Lord with this “busyness.”  Someone has pointed out, “The good becomes the enemy of the best,” and this is true.  We can spend so much time preparing to eat, eating our meals, and cleaning up, that we fail to have the time for the really important things in life—our Bible reading, our worship of the Lord, our prayer life, meeting with believers, sharing Jesus with others, and the like. 

We can spend time painting around the house, doing yard work, preparing a garden, cleaning the floors, engaging in housekeeping activities, and keeping an ultra-tidy environment that the spiritual is displaced with the material, and the eternal is crowded out with the temporal (cf. 2 Corinthians 4:18). 

In this way, our “busyness” becomes sinful.  We replace God and Christ and His Word, and His work with “good” but not necessary and important pastimes.  The judgment will display the folly of this, but we need to be able to perceive our misplaced values now, in this life, while we can still change.  We need to repent of this tendency to give priority to the temporal and give lesser value to the eternal.  Yes, let us be “busy” with good things and necessary activities—but let us escape from “busyness” that detracts from the spiritual and eternal.

 



[1] Random House Webster’s College Dictionary.

[2] The American Heritage College Dictionary.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Random House Webster’s College Dictionary.

 

 

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