During the past year, I must admit that it has been a pleasant side-effect of the coronavirus pandemic crisis that our schedules have been drastically reduced in activity and therefore in conflicts.
But as things have loosened up a bit, our schedules have returned somewhat to the busy-ness that seems to keep us going.
Thinking about just how busy my bride and I have been is something that has caused me to contemplate the question: Is God really pleased with just how busy we keep ourselves? Does He honor our busy-ness?
Or are we busy because we simply cannot say “No” to good things?
I must admit to having struggled with this issue for years.
I have migrated from the paper notebooks and Daytimers of old to an electronic PDA to my present “smart” phone in order to make sure that I keep control of my schedule I guess the answer to the problem of busy-ness lies not so much in WHAT calendar you use, but in HOW you use the calendar you use! ( and whether you look at it AFTER you use it – to set appointments and the like!)
With that in mind, the other day I ran across a familiar quote, originally penned by Gordon Dahl in his excellent work, “Work, Play, and Worship in a Leisure-Oriented Society.”
He says, “Most middle-class Americans tend to worship their work, to work at their play, and to play at their worship. As a result, their meanings and values are distorted. Their relationships disintegrate much faster than they can keep them in repair, and their lifestyles resemble a cast of characters in search of a plot.”
The challenge for me, as for most of us, has been to make sure that I keep my priorities in line with my core values and goals for my life.
The most important of those priorities is worship. I do not want to be guilty of “playing” at my worship, as Dahl claims.
Now I am not just talking about the Sunday morning variety. I am talking about the daily time I spend with God one-on-one in communion with Him. I am desperate for the time with God that I need in order to serve Him more fully in the remainder of my day.
When I contemplate that need, I am reminded of one of the journals of one of the church fathers, who, in the normal daily schedule, spent two hours at the beginning of every day in prayer. But on one particularly busy day, his journal entry read: “I have an extremely busy day today. Must spend four hours in prayer!”
He needed MORE time with the Lord, not less!
That is what worship is all about, coming into the presence of the King of Kings, and the Lord of Lords, so that He is able to bless us with His presence, His purposes, and His power for our daily lives!
When we come into His presence in that way, our praise and worship of Him invites us to consider the nature and characteristics of God, to affirm His matchless glory, and to acknowledge His power and control over the events of our day!
In Revelation 7:12, we read, for example, that “… blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might, be to our God forever and ever. Amen.”
One other thing that I believe is significant for me to recall about the Lord and worshipping Him.
One of my tendencies when I get going in my daily “grind” is to concentrate on the problems I am facing rather than on the Problem-Solver I am worshipping! I am convinced that the Lord in His majestic sovereign control of the circumstance of life already knows more than I do about the problems I will face today!
So, in my worshipful praying to Him as I begin my day, I need to concentrate lesson the descriptions of my problems and to think and meditate more on the complete and life-filling descriptions of the Lord who is the answer to all of our problems!
When the psalmist shouts “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!” (Psalm 150:6), THAT is what he is talking about!
All of this is to say that the next time you feel overburdened by the busy-ness of life, the next time you are consumed with the criteria and conditions in which you are existing in this world, or the next time you are ground under by the daily grind of living, stop for a few moments, take a deep breath, and start worshipping and praising the Lord!
He knows your life story, and He has the answer for getting you through!
All He asks of you is that you trust Him with the issues!
Chuck Tabor is a regular columnist for the News Journal and a former pastor in the area. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.