How can God show up and do something when we keep trying to place him in our busy, man-made calender?
We wake up to a handful of to-do lists, way too long for any realistic day. There are three Bible studies you're attending this week - one of them you’re leading, the other two you’ve volunteered to bring snacks. You float around from meeting to conference to coffee date, shooting up rushed prayers and brushing past people with whom you promised a month ago you'd hang out. You spend your free time Googling the best ways to be productive, or reading self-betterment books. Your calendar is saturated with chores and events. You glorify your busyness, unknowingly killing everything that the Gospel stands for. I know what it's like, because it’s what I’ve done. I'm an expert at spreading myself too thin, and tirelessly trying to complete every task and chore for the week.
In John 7:37, Jesus says, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.”
To have a drink is a pretty ordinary task. We have a drink when our throats start to feel dry. We have a drink between sandwich bites or after a long run. Thirst is something everyone can relate to, and Jesus uses it to give the most beautiful meaning of all: fulfillment of life.
So if Jesus promises us fulfillment of life, and our calendars are full of good and praiseworthy things, why do we still feel dry?
If we’re doing our devotionals every day, leading Bible studies, and volunteering when we can, why do we still feel unfulfilled?
We are productive, yes. But could it be that our busyness is actually killing the Gospel, in our lives and others?
If we take a look at Jesus’ life, we see multiple instances where Jesus refused to busy himself, and instead, simply hung out with people. Jesus took the time to stop for a drink (John 4:6) and talk to the woman at the well (John 4:7). He took the time to retreat from the crowds to pray (Matt. 14:23), to thank God for bread (John 6:11), to wash the disciples’ feet (John 13:5), and spend time with children (Matt 19:14).
Jesus had many places to go and many people to meet, so he could have easily filled up a planner or had a million notifications on his phone. But instead, Jesus just hung out, inviting those around him. He was in touch with His Father, and moved where He told him to move, healing where He called him to heal. He loved well.
I can't help but think that this is what we're missing when we commit to living out the Gospel. We get so caught up in making sure we're involved and doing good things, we forget that the Gospel clearly shatters that from the start. Christ came because doing good things can't get us anywhere. That means we are free to let go of the self-imposed expectations and intimately follow God and His plan, whether that leads us to attending three Bible studies or none.
"The world says perform, Jesus says rest." -Tim Keller
Lastly, something else that I am learning is this: Our life should be centered our loving others and loving Jesus. We can be so consumed with being busy, that we pass by many friends that desperately need our presence. We might go to those Bible studies or gatherings, but I wonder how many conversations we miss because we are so concerned with completing the next task on our to-do list. When your time on this earth comes to an end and Jesus calls you home, people won't remember how busy you were, but by how you made an impact on the people around you. They won't remember how much money you made or the car you drove, but by how well you loved and went out of your way for those around you. People will simply remember how you cared for and loved for them and others around you. So love well. Because people who make a difference in this world hold the unshakeable conviction that individuals are extremely important, that every life matters to them. Love well, welcome well, and be about others through Christ.