How Busy is too busy?
I vividly remember Kimberly and I standing in our kitchen one night about seven or eight years ago. We were preparing dinner as we listened to a Christian radio station. The DJ made a remark that profoundly affected us both. He said something to the effect “If you’re not spending time with God every day, if you’re too busy to pray and read your Bible, then you’re not in His will.” I think he was right.
With three small kids, Kimberly’s long hours as an OBGYN and my struggling to get a new business off the ground, we were busy. We had already been talking about doing something about it, but this simple statement from a DJ who was filling time between songs was a catalyst that sparked us to take action.
Soon afterward Kimberly started taking steps to cut down her hours. I changed my business plans. We determined that financial success had too high a priority in our lives. We decided to move back to Nova Scotia where our hearts had remained with family and old friends.
Kimberly closed her medical practice and we went on the road, covering for OBGYN’s who were on vacation. We traveled to small towns throughout Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, the five of us staying in one bedroom apartments and Super 8 hotels. Our oldest was in school, so we homeschooled him. We left our big, beautiful home with all of its toys and distractions behind. Kimberly had to stay within 15-20 minutes of the hospital 24-7 for a week at a time. We were restricted in what we could do, but it was the best time of our lives.
Small towns don’t see as many births or gynecological emergencies. Some entire weeks Kimberly would only spend a few hours at the hospital. We went for walks, cooked dinner together, read stories, played in local parks, went swimming and drew pictures.
We read the Bible and prayed together as a family. We attended new churches, met new people and we drew closer together as a family and closer to God.
Living out of suitcases in cramped quarters with a marked decrease in income… without the option to enroll the kids in umpteen activities… our movement restricted to a few kilometers… our busyness was reduced by necessity. We were happy. I think we were more like the family God had intended us to be. I will forever be thankful for that time we had together.
About six months after we started traveling Kimberly was diagnosed with terminal cancer. We continued to have many beautiful times together during the 19 month struggle before she died, but those previous months of time together, without cancer hanging over our heads, were a gift from God, preparing us as a family to weather the storm to come.
More recently, covid slowed everything down for a while. But it seems like most of us are back on the treadmill. We sacrifice building stronger relationships with family and friends… and God… for busyness and activities that are far less valuable.
Many of those things that we busy ourselves and our kids with are good things. Just not the best things. Like the DJ said, “if we are not spending time with God each day, we are not in His will.” Our relationship with God is more valuable than anything else in this world. (Matthew 13:44-46, Matthew 6:19-21) The Psalmist describes the decrees of the Lord as more precious than gold and sweeter than honey. (Psalm 19:9-10)
It’s Easter weekend as I finish this article. A time to make sure we’re not too busy to remember what Jesus did for us. How He was willing to empty and humble Himself, the God of the universe, taking the form of a servant to come to us as a man. (Philippians 2:6-8)
How He came to us, a people who had rejected and turned our backs on Him. (Deuteronomy 32:18, Isaiah 59:12-13, Romans 1:21-23) How He came to save us from the condemnation that we deserve because He loves us. (John 3:36, John 3:17-18, Romans 6:23, John 3:16) How we need a saviour, and that He was willing to suffer on the cross and die to break the chains of the sin that enslaved us… and how He set us free. (John 3:14-15, Hebrews 2:14-15, John 8:34-36) How He became that sin, the ultimate sacrifice, lending us His righteousness because we could never attain it on our own. (2 Corinthians 5:21, Hebrews 10:12-14, Ephesians 2:8-9) How we still need Him to be reconciled to a perfect God. (Romans 5:10, Romans 10:9) How He is the only one who can save us. (John 14:6, Acts 4:12)
How when we accept Him and believe that He came and suffered and died for us and rose again, we become children of God, co-heirs with Jesus. (John 1:12, Galatians 3:26, Romans 8:15-17) How we will receive the gift of eternal life, (John 3:16, John 6:40) able to live in the presence of God because Jesus took our sin on Himself and covered our own. (1 Peter 2:24, Ephesians 2:18-19)
How God will make us into a new creation. (2 Corinthians 5:17, Philippians 1:6) And how He will dwell with us in a New Heaven and New Earth where there will be no more sorrow or suffering, cancer or death and He will wipe every tear from our eyes. (Revelation 21:1-4) The kids and I look forward to being reunited with Kimberly in that place.
I pray we all make time for Him at Easter and every day. May you walk in peace and hope and in His will.
Below are some scriptures for reflection this Easter that outline the progression of the gospel… that we have turned our backs on God and are condemned – that Jesus made a way, the only way, for our reconciliation with the Father – that we have been offered His peace and hope and the gift of eternal life in a world without suffering or death.
All we need to do is turn to Him and believe.
For our transgressions are multiplied before you,
and our sins testify against us;
for our transgressions are with us,
and we know our iniquities:
transgressing, and denying the Lord,
and turning back from following our God,
speaking oppression and revolt,
conceiving and uttering from the heart lying words. – Isaiah 59:12-13
For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. – Romans 1:21-23
Who [Jesus], being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to
be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross! – Philippians 2:6-8
But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. – Hebrews 2:9
Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him. – John 3:36
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. – Romans 6:23
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. – John 3:17-18
The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! – John 1:29
From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. – Matthew 4:17
I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance. – Luke 5:32
And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. – John 3:14-15
But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified. – Hebrews 10:12-14
For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. – 2 Corinthians 5:21
He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. – 1 Peter 2:24
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. – Ephesians 2:8-9
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” – John 14:6
And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. – Acts 4:12
For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. – Romans 5:10
For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God – Ephesians 2:18-19
Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. – Romans 10:9
But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God – John 1:12
For in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. – Galatians 3:26 (ESV)
For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. – Romans 8:15-17
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. – John 3:16 (ESV)
For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. – John 6:40 (ESV)
I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world. – John 16:33 (ESV)
He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise. – Luke 24:6-7 (ESV)
Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. – Hebrews 2:14-15 (ESV)
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. – 2 Corinthians 3:17 (ESV)
Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. – John 8:34-36 (ESV)
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 2 Corinthians 5:17 (ESV)
And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. – Philippians 1:6 (ESV)
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. – Revelation 21:3-4 (ESV)