While I was busy here and there…,” said one of the sons of the prophets (1Kings 20:40), in his scenario to the king of Israel. In the fictional story he related, the busyness of one man led to his failure to carry out his responsibility.
Life is busy. Corporate America would demand every moment, and every ounce of energy, from its management teams. The pace of life for the average family has sped up over the last decade. Educational demands pressure students to devote their entire mental capability to their studies.
And yet, paradoxically, we never had so many time-saving devices, such good cars, or such good roads to travel toward our destinations. We no longer work 12-hour days and six-day weeks. Every new time-saving gadget is marketed with a promise to save you more time and provide you with more “leisure time.”
But we are “busy here and there.” In many of the larger cities in North America, the cost of living pretty much dictates that both husband and wife must work if they are going to be able to purchase a home and not live in an apartment. With both husband and wife working, evenings and Saturdays are needed to do the routine things which keep the household running smoothly. Any meetings other than the “routine” become almost impossible to fit into the household schedule. We want to give our children the privileges and possibilities from which they can profit. So, they are in gymnastics, soccer, ballet, scouts, little league, and a myriad of other activities, which means you are frantically driving them and picking them up from their games and activities, in between your runs to Wal-Mart or the supermarket. We are “busy here and there,” and we tell ourselves we cannot do everything. Sadly, it is often spiritual life and assembly life which suffers.
The main thing in life is to be sure that the main thing in life is the main thing in your life. A previous generation with far fewer “time-saving devices,” working longer hours on the job, and not possessing the means of rapid transport which we have, somehow managed to schedule everything around assembly life. Their “main thing” was honoring the Lord by their lives and by their devotion to what brought Him pleasure and honor. Their children were “deprived” of little league and ballet, but they survived, and did not spend the rest of their lives tripping over their feet. They did not have all the cultural advantages available to the children of this generation; yet somehow, they did not turn out to be social misfits.
“This one thing,” was the language of the apostle Paul (Phil 3:13, KJV). The Psalmist, as well, had a single-minded goal: “One thing have I desired of the Lord” (Psa 27:4, KJV). Hearts which are fixed, horizons which are focused, and hindrances which are forbidden marked all saints of a previous age who lived for God. They were “busy” but not “here and there.” They were busy using themselves to advance the interests of the kingdom of God. Are there things we could eliminate from our lives, some activities which we can dispense with, time that could be made to be sure we are at all the activities of the assembly, and able to support and encourage at all the meetings? Could we simplify our lives with a view to multiplying our effectiveness for God? Could we subtract a few things in order to add spiritual interests?