American culture values busyness. You’re sought after. Needed. In demand. You’ve got better things to do. After all, you are important. Busyness indicates a high social status.
Harvard Business Review did a study on this in 2016 entitled, “Why Americans Are So Impressed by Busyness.” According to their research, those who use online grocery shopping and delivery services were perceived as having a higher social status than those of us old-fashioned consumers who just go the store.
What does all this say? If you want to be relevant, you’d better get busy…or at least act like it.
In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus warns us about busyness after talking about His kingdom and when it would come in all its fullness. The Pharisees wanted to know when this would be. Instead of giving an exact time, Jesus warns them to be ready, to stand on guard, and to be alert.
Jesus said people in the days of Noah were “eating” (ēsthion), “drinking” (epinon), “marrying” (egamoun), and “being given in marriage” (egamizonto). Each of these verbs is found in the imperfect tense, which denotes action that is in progress. It emphasizes going here and there, rushing back and forth. Busyness.
None of the activities Jesus listed as going on in Noah’s day are sinful in and of themselves. Yet, the people of Noah’s day became so occupied with these everyday things that they failed to hear Noah’s warnings about the coming judgment. And they perished—while being busy.
Is it possible Jesus is telling us that busyness can cause us to miss out on His kingdom? I think so. When we are busy with life, our thoughts can be disengaged from the Lord. Between friends, work, and school, we might stop contemplating the kingdom of God. We vow that we’ll think about it again when things slow down. But life keeps getting busier.
Sobering, isn’t it?
What’s really imperative is that we keep our focus on the kingdom of God and take Jesus’s plea to follow Him seriously. If you are obsessed with being busy, today is a good day to slow down and make God your priority.