Ask the typical American Christian how they are doing, and you will hear some variation of the answer, “I’m so busy.” Whether we are actually that busy is another story for another day, but when we believe that we are really busy, we develop a scarcity mindset about our time. Everything that we know we should do, we tell ourselves that we cannot find the time for it.
Each of us needs to look at ways that we can slow our lives down. We should find one activity to cut out and learn to use the word “no” more often in the future. No person can say “yes” to every good opportunity, and eventually, a brutal pace of life wears us down because it robs us of the time we need for the most important things in life.
We need slower lives so we can spend more time connecting with God. I hear too often from followers of Jesus that they are too busy to read their Bibles or too busy to pray. Aside from the obvious fact that this is never really true, the problem is that we feel like we are too busy to do the things that matter. We run from the moment that we get up until close to bedtime. The times that we are not moving, we are filling our minds with distraction. The result is that we feel busy, and it makes it seem like we can’t spare time for God’s word and prayer.
We need to have a moment of honesty with ourselves- if you are too busy to do the basic things that God calls you to do, you are too busy. God is never going to call you to do so much that you neglect your walk with him. He is not going to ask you to commit to so many things that you do not have time to hear from his word.
Could I challenge you to do something that will show you that you have more time than you think you do? Check your screen time. I bet that if you looked at your screen time, you would find that you have more than enough time to spend in God’s word. You may not be able to do it all at one time, but you probably have plenty of time in the gaps of your day that you fill with “quick checks” of your phone. If you read the Bible for 12 minutes a day, you could read the entire Bible in a year. If you read the New Testament for 12 minutes a day, you could cover it four times in a year. Minutes add up to hours quickly.
We also need slower lives to connect with God’s people. Our world does not shut down on Sundays the way that it did two generations ago. Stores are open, and youth sports leagues have games scheduled. Many people who claim to follow Jesus use the day set apart for worship to catch up on work or get away for the day. Unfortunately, this means that we neglect the time that we need for worshipping and fellowshipping with the people of God.
When we miss church, we miss so much more than a sermon. We miss communing with the living God in the presence of his people. We miss the means of grace that draw us near to the Father. We miss the word of God, which forms us and shapes us into who we need to be. We miss the encouragement of God’s people, which helps us keep going. And, most of all, we miss the opportunity to be a blessing and an encouragement to others.
Christians would also benefit by slowing down, so we have more time for our neighbors. We are called by Jesus to love our neighbors as ourselves, and it is difficult to obey this command when we are too busy for our neighbors. We should look for ways to spend more time on the front porch, more time in the yard, and more time in the neighborhood. This provides us with opportunities to get to know our neighbors so that we can know how we can love them, serve them, and pray for them. We don’t do this when we run all day, pull into the garage, and walk straight into the house.
The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily reflect those of Christian Headlines.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Olga PS
Scott Slayton writes at “One Degree to Another.”