The Busy Life
Say something long enough, and people will accept it as fact. As the closing scenes of a classic John Ford western once so eloquently stated, “When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.” How many times has someone in recent years or maybe even we ourselves said, “We just lead such busy lives. There’s so much going on. We’re just so busy.”? Pray tell me how it is that a world full of labour saving devices, faster transportation conveyances than ever, etc. that we somehow supposedly are busier now than people used to be? While the collective eye roll of the readership occurs, the peanut gallery hollers, “There he goes again! He’s in his ole fuddy-duddy mood!”
Let us journey back through history in a few stages, ending up on the doorsteps of Scriptural history itself. There is a generation just about gone in this country that really lived a different life than people now can truly grasp. Most of the oldest in this country had at least partial electricity most all of their days, though some may remain that remember no electricity at all. The oldest among us can rememer farming without a tractor, having AC in the winter and central heat in the summer. If the millenials have even bothered looking up from their phones, they are scratching their heads thinking, “Life before the internet. Huh?”
So, if we go back 100 or so years, we find life without cars, without electricity, and certainly people couldn’t buy all their food goods at Wal-Mart, Kroger, or whatever your chain of choice is. They grew gardens not as a hobby but out of survival. They hunted and fished not out of recreation but out of survival. Their daily routine was full from sunup to sundown with activities that were all intertwined and connnected to survival. This generation was on the whole quite pious, deeply religious, and they had the manner of Paul to regularly frequent God’s service. (Acts 17:2) Surely if a generation of people could be excused from religous exercise and a faith walk, it would be a people whose every daily routine made their survival possible? Yet, they understood the injunction of the Master when He said that putting the kingdom of God and His righteousness first would yield all the necessities of food and raiment. (Matthew 6:31-34)
Going back further still, several centuries before the birth of the United States, we find centuries of history marked with blood and persecution. Followers of God’s word were persecuted by other faiths and heathens alike for nothing more than seeking to serve God, worshipping Him in spirit and in truth Their survival was greatly jeopardized by their willingness to honour and serve God. Now we’re getting somewhere! Their life was busy in running for their lives. Surely a people could be excused for being too occupied for service, even forgiven for laying their sevice down for the sake of their welfare or the welfare of their loved ones. Right? Yet, these faithful men and women oftentimes weere filled with gracious compassion to even pray for their tormenters sometimes as they were being put to death, much like Stephen did. (Acts 7:60)
Drawing farther back into the threshold of Scriptural history itself, we can investigate the busiest men to ever walk this earth. Much like our agrarian forefathers, their daily natural routines threshed out a natural survival story, and much like our spiritual forefathers and their spiritual successors, they were in jeopardy for their faith by other faiths and heathens alike. These men were none other than our Lord and the men He directly placed and called while upon the earth: His apostles.
Has there ever been a busier man than Jesus? Show of hands! Anybody want to stack resumes with Him? The top 2 lines items on His can utterly fragment all the best items from the rest of ours. It would be like 4 of us duffers getting a scramble team together to challenge some top pro golfer. The best shot from our group will inevitably be lacking compared to all of his. Jesus’ top two line items are saving His people from their sins and setting up His church. I’m out! Any of you got anything? Yeah, didn’t think so. Adding in even more, He was here only 33.5 years. At 37, I’ve been here longer than that, with far less to show for it. Even more still, 30 of those years didn’t address those top two line items at all! So, for 3.5 years, He had at least two tasks greater and busier than we could dream of in the whole of our lives!
And yet, His manner was pious, deeply religious, and grounded in faith. (Luke 4:16) He even submitted Himself as a youth in HIs parents’ home to work in a carpentry shop for years, all the while knowing and looking at great, great tasks in front of Him. While accomplishing His tasks, He empowered His apostles to carry the church into the next stage of her journey. These men did things and accomplished things that we today could not even comprehend. Anyone today want to add an office to the church? Show of hands! Anyone? Yet, these men were empowered to establish the office of deacon for the church’s benefit to serve and meet needs. (Acts 6) They constituted churches in other cities, ordained elders to carry the torch of the gospel, and baptized believers who repented and confessed their sins. They did this all the while scratching out a natural survival while at times running for their lives due to their adherence to the faith once delivered to the saints.
Busy? I think so. Busier than me? (sigh) Yes, I’m afraid so. Today I have decided to tear up the legend that has been printed as fact for so long. No Jimmy Stewart did not shoot Liberty Valance, and today is not a busy life. We have plenty of activities, or maybe they could best be termed distactions. Better yet, self-applied handcuffs and leg irons. Yes, I’m afraid you’ve seen me hobbling about in the circuit of life myself. Unfortunately, many are like Sampson. If they have eyes, they’re acting like they’re put out and just turning in circles.
Thanks be unto God that through the tireless efforts of His busy Son, we have a home waiting for us above. Thanks be unto God for His providence and through the efforts of faithful men from the apostles down to this present hour that we have a piece of home among us in the courts of His church. Thank God for the liberties I’ve had every day of my life that I’ve never had to run for my life due to the faith we follow in the Lord Jesus Christ. Thank God that my daily routines are not all geared towards survival the way my forebears had to “scratch things out.” May He help me to number my days so that I may apply my heart to wisdom. (Psalm 90:12)