Trinity Fellowship Church | Syracuse, NY

Ecclesiastes and Busyness (Part Two)

(Part One) was here.

On the one hand, it is a good thing to work hard–if that hard work is done by the power of the Spirit and is thus a constituent part of what Christ is doing in the world. Colossians 1:29 – 2:1 speaks of Paul’s hard work in the realm of his particular calling; 2 Timothy 2:3-6 refers to Timothy’s hard work in his particular calling.

On the other hand, our current sermon series from Ecclesiastes has been warning us against selfish striving, workaholism, and a wrong sort of busyness. Ecclesiastes 1-2; 3:1-15; and 4:4-8 in particular have warned us against putting too much stock in what mere human activity can accomplish, given the reality of the Curse.

If you prayerfully look at your own life and ask why you do what you do, you can make gains in moving away from the wrong sorts of busyness.

That, however, doesn’t mean that this issue is always simple. In this post, Tim Challies (a pastor in Toronto) looks at busyness from two different angles:

1. When busyness becomes an idol; when we gain our sense of identity, not from Christ, but from our own busyness. On this point, he quotes someone named Kreider.

[People who complain about their busyness are] almost always people whose lamented busyness is … self-imposed: work and obligations they’ve taken on voluntarily, classes and activities they’ve “encouraged” their kids to participate in. They’re busy because of their own ambition or drive or anxiety, because they’re addicted to busyness and dread what they might have to face in its absence. Kreider says, “Busyness serves as a kind of existential reassurance, a hedge against emptiness; obviously your life cannot possibly be silly or trivial or meaningless if you are so busy, completely booked, in demand every hour of the day.”

2. When others perceive him as being busy.

When people believe that I’m busy, they also believe that I am unapproachable. This is what has disturbed me the most …. So let me say it again, primarily to reassure myself: I’m not busy. I have all the time I need to accomplish the things the Lord has called me to.

–Stefan

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