As I write, my family and I are visiting my in-laws, who live in a rural area two hours away from Minneapolis. The pace of life here is a stark contrast from Minneapolis (or any other major city). And yet, people here still feel busy! Even when we lived in the South (where life is often considered much slower than the rest of the nation), there was a culture of busyness (although as a transplant life certainly felt slower!), which makes me wonder if busyness is a widespread phenomenon blurring geographical borders.
Across the pond in Sheffield, England, Tim Chester has written a timely book entitled The Busy Christian’s Guide to Busyness, and here’s an except:
Our Christian lives can be full of good intentions to do more for God, but time and again those good intentions are sapped by the pace of our lives. Sermons, conferences, talks, books all urge us to spend more time praying, studying the Bible, sharing the gospel, building community, caring for the needy, campaigning for justice – and on it goes. But most Christians feel their lives are already over-full. Some Christians, because of ill-health or unemployment, struggle with the opposite problem. They wish they had more to do. But everywhere you look in the church today there are busy Christians … There are many challenges facing the church today. But alongside all of them is this problem of time and busyness. Whatever new ideas we come up with for church or mission, we need to find the time to do them! In his book, The Tyranny of Time, Robert Banks (1983) says: ‘Our attitude to time is not an extra commitment or idea. It is the medium in which everything else is done. It affects everything.’ There’s so much we want to do; so many issues; so many opportunities. But so little time. We could argue about what the most crucial concerns are facing Christians today. But unless we sort out a Christian view of busyness, we might not find time to debate them, let alone do anything.
Tim’s blog is here, where you can see more of his helpful books about living a gospel centered life amidst increasing demands and constraints.