One of the most frequent responses I hear when I ask people, “How are you?”, is “Busy!” I often respond the same way when asked that question. There is no shortage of activities with which we busy ourselves. Going to the farmer’s market, doing yard work, exercising, checking social media, fishing, attending ball games, traveling, reading email, paying bills, attending the theater, working, remodeling, etc., But is all this busyness necessary? Does it prevent or promote our spiritual health?
A few weeks ago I read a very challenging passage from Psalm 73:28: “But as for me, the nearness of God is my good…”. “Nearness” refers to spiritual communion with the God of the Universe. The Psalmist realized intimacy with God was a necessity. and I want that to be true for me and everyone else. There can be no deep communion without a connection. Connection with God is only possible through conversion—belief in His Son Jesus. “But as many as received Him (believed in Jesus whose death was the payment we deserve for our sin) to them gave He the right to become the children of God. All believers are in union with God, but connection that leads to deeper communion requires a commitment to cultivate our walk with God. Busyness is a barrier that can prevent us from knowing God’s nearness.
Without negating the validity of certain necessary activities, Scripture indicates that busyness which prohibits our nearness to God is more about priorities than it is about personality types. Jesus’ interaction with Mary and Martha in Luke 10:38-42 makes this point. Mary is “listening to the Lord’s words” while Martha is “distracted (busy).” Jesus tells Martha, ”you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only a few things are necessary, really only one…” That one thing was drawing near to the Lord. Regardless of our personality Jesus commends a desire for intimacy. For Mary, the nearness of God was her good and she ordered her priorities accordingly. Are we following her lead or experiencing Martha’s loss?
Supper still needs to be made and bills have to be paid, but necessary activities can be delayed or done in conscious communion with God. A round of golf or watching TV can be rescheduled or eliminated so we have time to draw near to God by reading/meditating on His word, communicating in prayer, connecting with believers, and/or serving others.
If we want the nearness of God to be our good, we will routinely eliminate activities which prevent, and engage in activities that promote God’s nearness.