– Dana Smith, Women’s Equipping Coordinator
John 5:16-20 – Jesus said to them, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working…I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can only do what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does.”
“Busyness vs. being busy”
Few cities in the West are busier than Atlanta. In personal greetings a common response to the question, “How are you?” is “Fine and busy.” In fact, we place a high value on being busy since most of us equate being busy with being responsible and fruitful – a couple of respected virtues. Busyness, though, is different from being busy. Busyness is a state of distraction with attending worry and care. In busyness we fill our responsible and fruitful lives with other busy items and events that give us little time to enter into a place of rest, to spend time in prayer or in contemplation of scripture – to spend time with the Lord – for that time is filled.
Hurry is normal in Atlanta, especially in morning and evening traffic. The cars may not be moving fast at rush hour, but many if not most drivers feel the pressure to be somewhere else rather than being in the present moment stuck in traffic. The pressure of hurry is the antithesis of rest in peace. Dallas Willard, when asked about what it takes to be a disciple of Jesus stated, “Ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life.”
“…and then I got fired!”
I had a rich conversion experience with the Lord when I was 18 and then spent the next 40 years of my life striving to find out if what I was doing – being a husband, father, educator, missionary, pastor, elder, church planter, and more – matched up to what I saw in the Father and Son. But where they were at rest and joyful in their labors, I was increasingly anxious and full of care that I was not doing enough to be the man that I thought I should be. And then I got fired! Which gave me time to wrestle with the guilt and shame of losing my job and being clueless about my future.
As I look at the life of Jesus, I see that while he was busy, his life was one of rest and peace. Examining my own life, I found it filled with busyness and hurry. Through the release from my job, Jesus arrested me from the busy journey of my good faith attempt to please him. He gave me time to be with him, supported by men and women God put into my life to help me draw near to him and experience his “rest for my soul.” From this personal desert of the soul, I responded to the Lord’s love for me and let him envelop me. I finally embraced who I was as his beloved, delightful son and from this new stance moved into his call upon my life.
From this condition of surrender and believing that I was his beloved, favorite son, I began to work afresh from this position of my identity rather than working towards finding my identity. I still labor fully today but not with busyness and striving. I know who I am without the frustration of wondering who I will be. Jesus ministered from the identity of the Beloved not ministering to one day become the Beloved.
Jesus’ life was full, responsible, and fruitful. Yet his life was characterized by rest and peace. He said of himself, “I only do what I see the Father doing…” Jesus didn’t overfill his life with ministry to others. He spent time in prayer and contemplation and only ministered from a place of rest and peace. However, whenever, and to whomever God calls us to minister – even when that involves pushing papers or changing dirty diapers – we can follow Jesus’ example. Our very lives are ministry. Thankfully, God will spend as much time as it takes to help us enter his rest and the full riches of his grace. For him there is no wasted time or sorrows.
Jesus offers us the rest and peace from busyness and hurry when He invites, “Come to me all of you who are weary and burdened from your work and cares, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble-hearted, and you will find rest for your souls.”
Father, how do I ruthlessly eliminate hurry and busyness from my life? Teach me to learn of Jesus and live from His deep rest and peace. Give me your grace to surrender to your love for me that I might cease from striving and care.
One Step Further:
- Where might God be calling you to offer your busyness and hurry to Him?
- How is God inviting you to change your perspective on work/rest?
- Where is God asking you to join him in his work?