There is a disturbing trend in our churches today. It’s called being too busy. I’ve noticed it in the lives of the youth I work with, the lives of my professors while I was at school, the lives of my parents, and the lives of pretty much everyone I know. We are living in a culture that allows us to do anything we want. There is no end to the options for us to get involved in. We can volunteer for everything from being a deacon in our church, to being a youth leader, to giving respite care, to coaching little league. Whatever your interest there are a hundred different things that you can spend your time doing.
Advertisers have noticed this. There is this new commercial on TV for a vitamin supplement. The whole commercial is people walking around juggling things (e.g. a cell phone, a book, and a bottle of cleaning solution) they walk around juggling all the things in their lives. The whole message is, “We know you don’t have time to eat right, so take this little pill instead.” Does anyone else notice the problem with this? Instead of sitting with our families and having a well-balanced meal we run off to the nearest fast food chain, take a pill (to make up for the lack of nutrition) and run off to hockey practice, or our P.T.A. meeting.
Now my point isn’t that we are a fat, lazy society that doesn’t eat well. My point is that we don’t take the time to even eat with our families. Is it any wonder that our society is riddled with divorce? It doesn’t matter if you are part of the church or not, the divorce rate is practically the same. I would venture to say that our divorce rates are so high because we have generations of people who have been pushed to be involved, in church, in their communities, and in sports etc. All of these people never learned the importance of saying NO! We have this superman complex where we think that we can save everything and everyone. Or perhaps even more disturbing is the thought that we think that everyone NEEDS US to save them. Well the fact is the world will get along just fine without us. If we died today people close to us would mourn our passing, but within a week life would be back to normal. And in a year… we would be replaced.*
I think that we should learn a lesson from my brother’s hamster Gyp Gyp. You see my brother’s hamster started running one night, and he kept running, and running, and running, and a few days later it died. Well I don’t think that anyone has ever died from being involved in too many things, But I DO know that marriages have suffered and broken, people have been burnt out, stressed out, and have wanted to withdraw into seclusion “Just to get away from it all for a while.” People drink, smoke, gamble, play too many video games, and watch too much TV, have headaches, high blood pressure, and fatigue and some will even commit suicide because of the stress of their life. We run, we get involved, and we burn out. We are like a match held upside down and the flames just burn up everything in the matter of a few seconds.
Now back to Gyp Gyp. The poor thing just ran itself into exhaustion and died. Do you ever feel like your running around on the hamster wheel of life? Maybe we all need to listen to the words of my father. He said, “Stop running. Look at what God is doing. Listen to God.”
It is interesting that in a time before high speed internet, instant mac and cheese, microwavable popcorn, and all the other “instants” we have today St. Augustine wrote,
“O Lord thou hast made us for thyself and we are restless until we find our rest in thee.”
Do you want to save your marriage? Your sanity? The few hairs on your head that haven’t turned grey yet? Well then stop running. Learn to say no! Learn to chose a few things and get rid of the rest. And make time for the things that REALLY matter; you’re spouse, your kids, and ultimately God. Because after all if we don’t find rest in HIM, then we aren’t actually resting at all.
As for me? Even as I write this I can see in my own life times when I should just sit on the couch for a few more minutes with my wife, but I feel like I should go and set up for our youth night, or I should get running because I have a meeting to go to. It’s hard to realise that the youth band can practice without me and that if the power point isn’t set up “just so” life WILL go on, and that meetings are NOT the most important thing life. So like that old philosopher Red Green says, “I’m pulling for you, we’re all in this together.” Why don’t we slow down for a minute and just enjoy the life God has given us.
*(my foot note) I am not talking about the immediate families. For those people the loss of a loved on is a tragic experience that takes quite a bit longer to heal from. And often there is a hole forever. My heart goes out to you who have experienced this.