The Plague of Busyness

Keith Knight

"Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

Busyness, it seems, has become a common problem for many people in our culture today. Despite technological advances that have increased productivity and improved communication, our to-do lists are as long as ever. Most people still seem to be ruled by “the tyranny of the urgent.”

Almost every morning my wife and I ask each other the same question, “So what does your day look like?” It’s good for us because we know how to pray for each other and it also gives us insight on how busy our day looks. My days are usually packed, to the point where the list is not achievable. Meetings to attend. Phone calls to make. Prepare and plan for Marriage Ministry activity. Assist and support other pastoral staff members in ministry. Human Resource responsibilities. Review purchase orders. Check on-line banking and Visa activity. Check and respond to numerous e-mails. Encourage a family member or friend on the social network. A hospital visitation. Service the car. Yard work to do. Bills to be paid. Kids activities. And the list goes on, and on, and on…to the extent that I pray for few interruptions or distractions for the day.

Been there? Have you ever felt so overwhelmed and exhausted just thinking about your to-do list before you even start your day? I have, but I’m thankful that God’s Word gives me insight in prioritizing my day.

Jesus said:

“Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matt. 11:28-30.

We know the words well and find some comfort, but do we really experience this? An easy yoke? A light burden? Yokes and burdens, absolutely. But easy and light? And rest for the soul? Not usually. Most of us stress with far heavier yokes than Jesus intended for us. So how do we shed our heavy loads? Read and look back at the verses. Two words – yoke and rest- are repeated twice. Rest is a word that suggests the stopping of motion. And the rest that Jesus promises is rest for the soul, not body rest. So the “image of rest” that comes to our mind like lounging in the sun on the beach in Maui is probably not accurate. The rest, the peace, is on the inside. His concern is for our hearts. So conquering the list at the risk of spending time with the Lord is not a good plan.

Christ was most likely the busiest person who ever lived. Crowds pestered Him. Strangers grabbed His clothing. People with needs disturbed His sleep and interrupted His teaching. In one day alone, Jesus encouraged the disciples, healed the sick, taught the multitude, fed the five thousand, and helped a friend through a storm!! All this, and He still found time to be alone with His Father (John 6:1-14).

I encourage carving out one day each week and consider it a Sabbath…a day to connect with God and find the much needed REST for your soul!!!

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