Enjoying the Journey
I was asked recently to speak to a group of parents on the subject of pitfalls in the home. I read. I thought. I asked questions. I made a list. Hypocrisy, unrealistic expectations, division between those in authority, inconsistency, rules without relationship, religion without joy, passiveness, overuse of media, and on and on the list goes. After much reflection I have come to the conviction that in most of our homes the greatest danger is that we are “just too busy!”
Isn’t it amazing that with all of our time saving devices, time management books, fast food, and “on demand” technology that it seems we have less time than ever? Barna reports that more than 50% of people surveyed say they are too busy. (I wonder who the other people are!) “Too busy” is the number one reason people give for not voting. 55% of people who do not attend church give this as their excuse.
In Christian homes it is not the bad, but the misplaced good that is the enemy of the best. We live in a busy world. And we have learned to live the same way they do. Families today are overcommitted, over scheduled, and overwhelmed. There is little time for the Lord and almost no time for each other.
The Lord Jesus was busy. Who could have had more to do than He did? When He was 12 years old He asked, “Wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?” Imagine the pull of people that He experienced. Think of what it would be like to know perfectly the needs of every person around you. And yet when we study His life it does not seem to be a frantic pace.
The Gospel according to Mark has been referred to as the “Gospel of Action.” Written to the Roman mind, it unfolds like a fast moving drama. Amazingly, it is Mark who records for us repeatedly our Lord’s “pauses.” He sneaks away to pray in chapter 1 in the midst of what Bible scholars call “Christ’s busy day in Capernaum.” He spends a great deal of time privately with twelve men in chapter 3. He stopped in the middle of an important mission to minister to one woman in chapter 5. He took the disciples apart from the multitudes for rest in chapter 6. Perhaps most touching of all, in chapter 10 He allowed “little children” to come to Him in the midst of a very demanding day. Jesus was busy, but not in a hurry.
There is too much haste in the home today. Hurry steals the heart away. Busyness is an action. Hurry is an attitude. Those who work hard and desire the best are going to be busy. But in our busyness we must not hurry past the Lord and those we love. Urgency is not living at a faster pace; it is living with properly placed priorities.
It is significant that twice in the New Testament the Holy Spirit reminds us to “redeem the time” (Ephesians 5:16; Colossians 4:5). In both instances the command is given in context of the family. The word “redeem” reminds us that someone owns our time. We have to buy it back. Who controls your schedule? What possesses your time? Our God is the God of eternity and the only One who never wastes time.
How can you know if you are “just too busy?”
1. You are just too busy if you are too busy to pray and read the Bible together.
In Deuteronomy 6 God tells parents to teach their children the truth. When does this happen? Four “golden moments” as my Pastor calls them are given: when we sit in our house, when we walk by the way, when we lie down, and when we get up. In our world families rarely sit in their house together. Even family dinners are a rare thing today. When we walk (or drive) by the way the radio is blaring and the cell phone is ringing. When we go to bed it is with the t.v. on. When we get up it is to race out the door to start the whole process over again. If we are to pray, read God’s Word, and teach our children to do the same there must be moments of quiet.
2. You are just too busy if you are too busy to laugh.
This may not seem to be very spiritual but it is one of our Lord’s admonitions. Proverbs 17:22 says, “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine…” We could use some of that medicine in our homes. Children need to grow up in a happy home. One of the greatest things my parents gave to me and my sister was the realization that you could enjoy serving the Lord. Have fun together. Laugh. Studies show that the average child laughs 500 times a day. The average 50 year old laughs 11 times a day. Do not allow the stresses of life to rob you of the joy of the Lord.
3. You are just too busy if you are too busy to talk.
Susannah Wesley had 19 children. Two of her sons, John and Charles, made quite a contribution to our Christian heritage. She must have been a busy woman. What was her secret? She set aside some time every week to speak with each one of the children about their life and the Lord. We must turn off the media and learn to talk to one another again.
An Old Testament prophet told the story of a servant who went out to battle. A soldier brought him a man to keep. When the battle was over the man had escaped. The servant said, “as thy servant was busy here and there, he was gone” (1 Kings 20:40). When we come to the end I am afraid that will be our testimony. Someday our life will be gone. Our family will be gone. Our children will be gone. Our opportunity will be gone. When did it happen? As we were
“busy here and there.”
It was Queen Victoria who said, as she neared her final moments on this earth, “I would give all of my wealth for one moment of time.” In the end, it doesn’t matter how beautiful a house we sleep in, how fancy a car we ride in, or how nice the vacations are that we take. The most valuable thing we have is our relationship with the Lord and our family. The most valuable thing we do is invest time in those relationships.