What Being Busy Means and Doesn’t Mean

Joseph Fowler
December 2nd, 2019

Life seems to be incredibly busy, and life moves at an incredible pace as we click off the minutes spent in the office, out in the community, at games, at plays and with family. There is no limit to the things that can fill a day, a week and a lifetime. Sometimes being busy, or at least communicating busy-ness, can be so general or nebulous that it can lose its meaning or even its purpose. If there is no meaning to being busy, then what is all of the “busy” for? There must be a method to the madness, some organization to the chaos, and a purpose to living a busy life. It is time to recalibrate what it means to be busy, and understand what it does not mean.

Being busy means that you are working towards a defined goal.

When setting a goal, there should be action steps in achieving that goal. Ask, “What does a win for the day’s work look like? and then ask, “What needs to happen to get the win?”. Everything in between that start and that finish should make a person quite busy. Of course, the “win” for the day could be multifaceted, and have lots of different branches stemming from the primary goal. The amount of “busy” might even be multiplied for higher capacity jobs with more obligations and daily requirements. Regardless of the the type of job, being busy should mean working toward the win for that day. Finding a way to work towards an end of the week, month, or yearly goal is even better. Let being busy mean that there are wins being achieved, boxes being checked, and a defined purpose in what is being done. Set intentionality to being busy.

Being busy does not mean neglecting important things.

The first ministry of every pastor and ministry leader is the ministry of family. Being busy with ministry work does not give anyone the excuse to ignore things at home. Because of the sense that ministry is the highest calling that one can give their life to, everything else can begin to take a back seat. If you are winning at church but failing at home, then you are failing. It is easy to say that since souls are being saved, and lives are being changed through ministry work, then “lesser” things get pushed away. Sometimes that thought process bleeds over into family life, and one long day at the office, or one tee ball game missed leads to multiple absences, and eventually things at home are on the rocks because ministry has taken precedence over family. Do not allow being busy with ministry become an excuse to neglect the most important things.

Being busy means end of the day satisfaction.

In the show “The Office”, in one of the latter seasons the manager, Michael Scott, is talking to the CEO, Jo Bennett, about letting the employees go home because it is St. Patrick’s Day (which is apparently a big deal in Scranton, PA). Jo replies that they are free to leave if Michael feels like they have put in a good day’s work and “can sign their name to it”, feeling personal satisfaction with the work that they have put in. Michael takes it as a hint that Jo might not be thrilled with the work day up to this point, so he chooses to continue the work day. Hours tick by and eventually Michael has had enough trying to look busy, so he lets Jo know, and he releases everyone. The point being, long hours of looking busy does not mean quality work has been done. If, at the end of the day, there is no sense of completion or satisfaction, then being busy is all for nothing.

Being busy is not a crutch.

Saying “No” to good things so that you can say “Yes” to the best things is a good discipline to have. Sometimes “being busy” becomes an excuse for things to be done poorly, or not get done at all. God has called us to be excellent in what we do, without excuse. In order to do many things well, perhaps it is time to collaborate, or move some things off the plate.

Being busy is part of the deal.

Ministry imposes a very high tax on time and effort. A pastor who is trying to shepherd well understands that the demands can be 24/7, and hours of operation do not end. There are few other professions that have the same demand for time and energy as ministry, and they all pay a lot better. This is usually one of the most surprising truths in a young pastor’s life. Unless they have been mentored well, they might come into ministry not fully understanding how much time it will take cultivating a congregation, be it a full church, or a segment of the population such as the student ministry. Student ministry might even have a higher demand, as most of the next generation is very high achieving, and there are lots of opportunities to be involved in extracurricular activities in school or in the community, and student leaders would be wise to reach into each of those activities, and be involved in what their students’ interests are.

Ministry, especially student ministry, is not for the home body. Activity is life for the ministry leader.

Joseph Fowler

Joseph Fowler currently serves as the Student Pastor of CrossPointe Church in Madison, AL. His passion is leading and equipping the next generation of the Church. When he isn’t speaking, teaching or hanging with students, you can find him at home with his wife, Kinsley, and son, Camden. He fancies himself an outdoorsman, athlete and somewhat of a gamer.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the YS Blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of YS.