Social Issues (Part 12): Busyness

Social Issues

Busyness is familiar to all of us. It is the condition in which we have a great deal to do and not enough time to do it. This could be due to actual responsibilities, perceived duties, self-imposed obligations, and also time-wasting activities.

Those who argue in favor of busyness will often do so by contrasting it with laziness or idleness (even though these are not exact opposites). Those who view busyness as a virtue typically believe they are simply making the most of their time rather than wasting it.

Facts & Statistics

A recent study of parents with school-aged children found that families spend less than 45 minutes together on a typical weekday; 60% of parents describe their daily lives as “hectic.”

In 2016, the average employee in the United States worked 38.7 hours per week and 46.8 weeks per year. 40% regularly work more than 50 hours per week. 20% regularly work more than 60 hours per week.

A 2013 poll found that 40% of Americans get less than 7 hours of sleep a night.

Despite a busy and hectic schedule, the average adult in the United States spends almost 6 hours per day watching video (includes TV, DVD’s, streaming, apps, computer, etc.). This means we may feel “busy” because our time is being filled with something, but are not being productive.

Basic Bible Principles Relating to This

God’s people are to be hardworking/industrious – The wise man wrote, “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might…” (Ecclesiastes 9:10). Because of the uncertain nature of life, he later spoke of the need work “in the morning” and “not be idle in the evening” (Ecclesiastes 11:6). The apostle Paul said that Christians are to “work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men” (Colossians 3:23). Even those without an employer – such as housewives – were to be known for their hard work (1 Timothy 5:13-14).

We are also to make time for what is important – We are not to “[forsake] our own assembling together, as is the habit of some” (Hebrews 10:25). We are to make time for Bible study (2 Timothy 2:15) and prayer (1 Thessalonians 5:17). We also have responsibilities as spouses, parents, and children that require our time (Ephesians 5:22-6:4).

We must use our time wisely – Paul wrote, “Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:15-16). This is rooted in the principle of stewardship. We only have so many hours in the day, so we must make the best use of our time. This requires diligence.

We need to make time for rest – Some believe that Christians are still under the Sabbath law, requiring us to rest each seventh day of the week. However, this law was given to the children of Israel (Exodus 20:8-11; 31:12-17), not to the church. Yet even though there is no mandated day of rest in the gospel age, that does not mean rest is unimportant. The wise man said, “The sleep of the working man is pleasant” (Ecclesiastes 5:12). If we are working hard as we should, we need rest to allow our bodies to recover and enable us to continue our diligent labors. However, even mental and emotional demands can make rest necessary. When Jesus and His disciples were so busy trying to help others that “they did not even have time to eat,” Jesus said they needed to go “to a secluded place and rest a while” (Mark 6:30-32). Our physical, mental, and emotional health requires rest.

If we are too busy, we can fail to make time for God or spiritual things – In the parable of the sower, Jesus warned that the “worries and riches and pleasures of this life” can choke out the word and leave one unfruitful (Luke 8:14). He later described a rich land owner who lost his soul because he was too busy with earthly labors to focus on spiritual things (Luke 12:16-21). Felix listened to Paul’s preaching but dismissed him until he could “find time” to consider it further (Acts 24:25). We need to make the most of our time, but being too busy to think about spiritual things is not a wise use of it.

Bottom Line

It is good to be productive, hardworking, and industrious. However, we must not fill our time with activities – even ones that are good and necessary – so that we no longer have time to engage in the spiritual activities as God expects of us.


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