The following article is from Rev. Dr. Terry Tieman’s blog, (July 18, 2012):
What’s your favorite excuse? That question is probably a bit hard to answer without knowing the category, but I would suggest that the excuse that Americans use more than any other, regardless of category is this: “I’m too busy!” You can fill in just about any request and the answer is still the same. For instance, when a Mom asks her teenager to tidy up her room or take out the trash, the answer is “I’m too busy!” The same when a boss gives a new assignment to an employee or a wife asks her husband to fix the sink or even when a pastor asks a church member to consider teaching a new Sunday School class. “I’m too busy!”
The great part about this excuse is that it is built on an element of truth. The fact is that most of us are busy. Busy doing what, of course, is the million dollar question. Are we doing something that’s really important and will make a difference for the glory of God and the expansion of His kingdom, or just busy? For many of us, if we are really honest, we’re just busy. In fact, I think that many of us actually take pride in how busy we are. Oftentimes when I see fellow pastors, I will ask them politely, “How’s it going?” And the number #1 answer, “Man, I’m busy!”
Related to the word “busy” is the word “business.” When I work with churches, I will often ask them the question, “What business are you in?” Sometimes people in the church get upset when you compare ministry to business, but the fact is “business” is nothing more than what we spend our time, money, and energy doing. Generally speaking, where we spend the majority of our time, money and energy defines the business that we are in!
Jesus was very clear in describing the business that He was in. He said, “The Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost” (Luke 19:10). He was very clear about what business we should be in as well: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations…” (Matthew 28:19a). So when we say that we are busy, the real question ought to be: “Are we busy doing the Lord’s business, or just busy?”
Recently, a group of members from my home church in Memphis went on vacation to the Gulf Coast. This is something that many of them have been doing together as families for a number of years. In the past, this has been a time of rest, relaxation, and recharging before school begins again at the end of the summer. This year, however, they thought seriously about what business they were in, so they decided to do a Service Project for a local church which was comprised of a small group of elderly members. Giving up a half day of their vacation, they raked leaves, trimmed hedges, pulled weeds, hauled trash, and generally tidied up the entire church property. They took seriously the biblical admonition to be about their Father’s business (Luke 2:4.)
What about you? Are you just busy, or are you busy doing the Lord’s business?
*Dr. Terry Tieman is the President and Executive Director of Transforming Churches Network (TCN) an organization committed to “assisting local congregations in becoming more effective in reaching their communities with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” To learn more about how Transforming Churches Network might be able to assist your congregation, visit the TCN website.