We’re all busy. I don’t know about you, but anytime I ask someone, “How’s it going?”, the default answer isn’t usually “fine”. More often, I hear others and myself saying, “Busy”, “Crazy busy”, or “I’ve got a lot going on”. We live in a time when busy is worn as a badge of honor, don’t we?
When I speak of being busy, I’m not referring to a full schedule. I’m referring to the fourth definition of the word in Webster’s dictionary—full of distracting detail. Isn’t that convicting by itself? Sometimes we get so caught up in the distracting details of life that we forget about what is most important.
But I wonder how busy Jesus was, according to our definition? I think we all know that Jesus had a full schedule. But can you see Jesus speed-walking to his next healing appointment, head down, hoping that nobody tried to talk to him, going on and on about their problems? I doubt it. In fact, I would submit to you that Jesus was the unbusy Saviour. Though Jesus had a full schedule, He was never too busy to give attention to what was most important.
We have a lot to learn from how Jesus managed the constant demands of his time from the feeding of the 5000 in Mark 6, and it my hope that you and I will never be too busy to give attention to these three tasks in 2018.
- Jesus was never too busy to meet spiritual needs
As Jesus’ disciples boarded the ship with Jesus to cross the harbor, they expected to embark on a relaxing spiritual retreat. How horrified they must have been to see the crowd of people that followed them to their destination! Jesus and His disciples had to have been physically and emotionally exhausted: they had just finished an exhausting ministry trip that was cut short by their heart-broken trip to retrieve and bury the beheaded body of their beloved John the Baptist.
At a moment like that, I would be far from ready to minister. Yet Jesus was. He saw the people’s spiritual need in a moment when he would have been fully justified to become fixated on His own physical needs.
Here’s the truth that I’m beginning to realize in my life: the moments of my most profound spiritual impact rarely occur at moments of convenience. The times in which you feel the most busy will likely be the times when you are presented with opportunities to lead people to Jesus, preach an impactful sermon, or sow seeds of kindness to a neighbor. Yet Satan would love nothing more than for us to become distracted by other priorities and miss out on ministry opportunities. We must never become too busy to step outside of our schedules and minister to the spiritual needs of those around us.
- Jesus was never too busy to meet physical needs.
The feeding of the 5000 is inarguably one of the Jesus’ landmark miracles. It had to be an impactful moment if each of the 4 gospel writers chose to include this miracle in their account of the life of Jesus. Yet, Jesus’ greatest miracle simply sprung from his desire to take care of the physical needs of the people. According to Mark, Jesus was just trying to follow common courtesy and avoid sending the people home with an empty stomach! If Jesus was willing to overcome the impossible to minister to the physical needs of people, don’t you think that meeting physical needs ought to be a regular part of the lives of believers?
Though meeting physical needs often feels more mundane and routine than meeting spiritual needs, God is delighted when His children unselfishly meet the physical needs of others. He’s delighted by the care of a mother or father for their children. He’s delighted by the care of an adult for their aging parent, and He is pleased when He sees His children reaching out to the impoverished in America and around the world. Sometimes, meeting physical needs is one of the most spiritual things you could do.
- Jesus was never too busy to spend time with the Father
What I find interesting about this account in Mark 6 is that this day began by Jesus and His disciples missing out on the opportunity to take a spiritual retreat. Most of us would say, “Oh well, maybe I can try again tomorrow.” But not Jesus. Even after a long day of teaching and performing a great miracle, Jesus broke away from the disciples to spend long hours of time with His Father.
In fact, this is something we see throughout the life of Jesus. What did he do before He began His public ministry? What did He do hours before He was arrested and crucified? It didn’t matter how full His schedule was: Jesus regularly took time away to spend time with His Heavenly Father. Jesus realized that the only way He could continue to give and give of Himself to others was if He regularly invested in His personal relationship with the Father.
It’s time to stop the excuses for missing out on Bible reading. It’s time to stop cutting our prayers short because of a full day ahead of us. The greatest investment of your time in 2018 will be in a healthy discipline of regularly spending time with the Father. I believe you’ll find, like Jesus did, that it will increase your ability to minister to other people. Before we can pour into the lives of others, we have to make sure that we give God the opportunity to pour into our lives.
When we get a look at the unbusy Savior, we get a sense of how our lives are busting out the seams with distracting detail. It’s almost a guarantee that 2018 will feel busier than 2017: but by the grace of Jesus you can still make sure that these 3 priorities become unmovable parts of your life in the upcoming year.