Does busyness choke out your relationship with God – spending time with him in prayer, reading scripture and seeking his will in your lives? In explaining one aspect of the parable of the Parable of the Sower, Jesus says, “Still others, like seed sown among the thorns, hear the word; but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word and make it unfruitful.” (Mark 4:18)
There are many kinds of thorns – worries, ambition, wealth, recognition, position, possessions and busyness, to name a few. The Roman soldiers placed a crown of thorns on Jesus’ head, but he did not let the pain of them deter him from his mission.
Busyness, as much any other circumstance, makes the word in many of us unfruitful. We rush to get dressed in the morning and have our breakfast before we rush to work. At work, there is often more to do than the time available, so we rush from one task to another. After work, we rush to take our kids to practice or a sporting event. We then rush home for dinner because we have a meeting after dinner at church, school or some other place, or we need to help the children with their homework, or we have a brief case full of work. Even when we are not in fact being rushed, we have a sense of being rushed.
All of this rushing crowds out God. Intimacy with him is sacrificed. The noise of busyness keeps us from hearing the whisper of the Holy Spirit and understanding the Spirit’s call each day. Notice that Jesus says the outcome is that the word in us becomes unfruitful. The rich guidance of the word goes unused. Jesus’ desire for us is just the opposite – “I chose you and appointed you to bear fruit, fruit that will last.” (John 15:16)
Life will always have its demands. Do we let these demands choke out God’s word and presence in us, or do we invite him to join us in their midst? I used to pray a lot in hallways and elevators as I went from one meeting to another, acknowledging God’s presence and asking him to go before me. There seemed to be more fruit when I did and less when I didn’t.
God’s presence is available to us in the midst of our busyness. Offer up your schedule to him at the beginning of each day. Remember his words, “I am with you always.” (Matthew 28:20)