Christian Book Reviews, Author Interviews, Excerpts

Set Aside Busy-ness of Life to Read "Too Busy to Live"

  • Rev. Austin Miles AgapePress
  • 2005 11 Aug
Set Aside Busy-ness of Life to Read "Too Busy to Live"

This book should be required reading – even if it means cutting out a couple of hours of useless TV watching in order to do it. Your mental and physical health may depend on it.  This is no exaggeration. Today, people are dying of heart attacks and strokes related to stress, caused by simply trying to do too much.

When Rev. Dennis Reynolds, pastor of Harvest Time Assembly of God Church in Brentwood, California, was told the title of the book – "Too Busy to Live:  The Addiction America Applauds" (Fair Havens, 2005) – he said, "That's so true. We are just too busy."  Then my daughter-in-law, Cindy, came through, saw the title, and said, "Isn't that the truth?"

Being too busy has become an exasperating fact of life and is very much on everyone's mind, even though nobody knows what to do about it.

Just try reading this book while on an airplane or sitting in a doctor's waiting room. You will become acquainted with just about everyone in the area (as I found out while trying to read an advance copy). After glancing at the book cover, they will tell you they agree with the title, and then talk about how times have changed.

But nobody can tell you exactly what did change, when and how, and why we seem to be on the go constantly from wake-up to bedtime, with so little personal time.  The long commute to work is often cited as one major reason, and others allude to the Industrial Revolution (when people began working farther away from their homes) as the culprit. These are indeed part of the problem.

However, the reader will be startled to learn that these are only "shadow reasons." The clear and thoroughly documented facts show that we have been skillfully manipulated to believe that this busy-ness is essential if we expect to be viewed as "successful."  In this book, we are shown how to break free of this manipulation and the trap we have been caught in ... learn to live life ... smell the roses ... and still get more done.

As this problem began reaching epidemic proportions, ministers in their pulpits (and some leadership books) tried to address the issue, stating that we must do something about it by re-organizing our lives, but without offering any substantial ways to do it. In my opinion, this is the first book to tackle the issue effectively.

"Too Busy to Live" gives a specific road map of how to deal with the busy-ness of life. The book gives some wonderful history showing how we got so busy – would you believe that the invention of concrete, resulting in magnificent buildings connected by a network of roads, marked a turning point in history that ushered in busy-ness and the ultimate breakdown of families (page 23)?  And you will be fascinated by how the invention of the light bulb contributed to the whole mess (page 52).

The reader will see how the writings of Darwin affected the decline of the church in Europe. And how American professors, sent by their Protestant seminaries to study in Europe, returned with a liberal form of Christianity that questioned its historical roots and the divine inspiration of the Bible.

The fall of the Puritan work ethic drastically transformed our overall value system to greed and profit, and, with the growing wealth of America, consumer spending could not keep up with production.  Fractional reserve banking solved that problem by making easy credit available to consumers, making them lifetime debtors for instant gratification with products that they were psychologically conned into believing were necessary as well as symbols of strong identity and success.

The book explains how and why the drug culture and the hippie movement began, and it gives the best explanation of what the New Age movement really is, how it came into being, and its destructiveness. This information alone is worth the price of the book.

It shows how the "politically correct" idea was formulated and why. What an eye-opener!  It also shows how referring to someone as a "super-mom" or a "winner" contributes to the overall idea that we can do more.

This is not a book of pat answers to the problem. On the contrary, it offers both genuine solutions to what has become an addiction as well as its own 12-step program.  It shows how to break free of busy-ness, get more done in less time while freeing valuable time for family, and – of special importance – how to find quiet time with God.

"Too Busy" includes charts that allow you to assess your life and activities. One of those allows you to reconsider your job. Is it really where you should be working?

The section on time management (essential to grasp) includes a self-analysis, which will determine how you need to change your time consuming habits. And there is also a "Time Contract" that you read and sign with yourself.  In addition, scripture references are given throughout the book to encourage readers to restructure their lives to align with biblical values so that true success can be obtained.

This is the most complete treatise on this subject that has ever been published. It is a well-written and pleasurable read, with a foreword by noted public speaker Zig Ziglar.  The authors did a superb job putting it together.

The three authors are well qualified to write this book. Dr. Rick Fowler, executive director of Prestonwood Counseling Center in Dallas, has been featured at numerous seminars, media and platform events including Focus on the Family with Dr. James Dobson, Insight for Living with Dr. Charles Swindoll, and the 700 Club with Pat Robertson.

Cassie Findley is a credentialed nutritionist and fitness expert who was assistant dean for student life and director of health education and wellness at Baylor University. (For example, stress – a major risk factor in the "too busy" culture – must be managed with exercise and nutrition. She shows you how to do it.) One chapter is titled, "Your Body: Is It a Fit Place to Live?"

J. Ray Smith, is national facilitator for the Too Busy to Live conferences. He also has over 16 years experience as a pastor, and was an instructor and chairman of the Pastoral Studies Department at Dallas Bible College.

This very timely book builds to a strong finale with the chapter, "The Way Back to Balance." That is what all of us need to learn in this orchestrated hustle-and-bustle world. We can get out of the whirlwind and begin to live ... and accomplish more.

Pastors will especially benefit from this book. It offers not only solid counsel, but covers leadership, rich church history (Why the persecution of Christians by Rome when they had so many religions and gods there?), and apologetics.  Plus, many great sermon illustrations can be mined from it. It is a one-book encyclopedia.

This is not just for pastors, but for all Christians. Non-believers as well will profit by reading it.  It contains so much valuable information that it cannot be covered adequately in one review, and should be read twice to fully absorb everything in the book.

© 2005 AgapePress.  All rights reserved.  Used with permission.