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There’s lots of buzz about “busy” being bad. “Simplify your life.” “Learn to say, ‘No’.” “Don’t settle for busy.” But is busy, bad?

Busy, Not Bad

I follow Jesus’ example in my life.

Jesus was VERY busy.

Oh yes he was.

For example, when his cousin and friend John the Baptist had just been beheaded, Jesus tried to go to an isolated place to mourn, but the crowds beat him there. What did he do? He got busy healing their sick – one at a time – and then he served them all dinner.

Only then, in the evening, did he get a chance to be alone. Even that was interrupted. He ends up taking a short-cut – straight across a lake on top of the water – to get to his disciples’ boat that was storm struck. Matthew 14:10-25

Jesus was busy.

But, he wasn’t hurried.

Busy, Not Hurried

Habitual hurry is unhealthy. It’s not good for your soul.

Dallas Willard points out that there is a world of difference between being “busy” and being “hurried.”

Busy is an outward, physical condition. Hurried is an inner, spiritual condition.

Busy                                               Hurried
A full schedule                              Preoccupied
Many activities                             Unable to be fully present
An outward condition                 An inner condition of the soul
of the calendar
Physically demanding                 Spiritually draining
Reminds me I need God             Causes me to be unavailable to God


You cannot live well in the kingdom of God with a hurried soul.

James Clear says, “Slowing down enables you to act in a high quality way. Kind rather than curt. Polished rather than sloppy. It’s hard to be thoughtful when you’re in a rush.”

My goal is to be busy but never hurried.

People who aren’t hurried are open to interruptions.

I’m a pastor. Pastors can’t serve well if they aren’t open to interruptions. It’s the same for moms, isn’t it?

Interruptions are an efficient use of time and focus if you aren’t hurried.

How to Be Busy Like Jesus

1. Be clear on your identity. The need for significance can drive you to hurriedness unless your significance is based on who you are, not what you do.

Jesus knew who he was. He began much of his teaching with “I am…” He addressed his closest friends with the words, “You are…”

If you’re not clear on your identity ask some trusted friends why they think God put you on earth. Their responses shouldn’t be the final word but they should offer valuable insight.

2. Be clear in your purpose. At one point Jesus says, “My Father is always at work and I too am working.” John 5:16,17(NIV) Purposeful work is never busy work but it most often is busy.

Clarity of purpose frees you to use the power positive a “No.”

Do you know what your purpose is? Are you living on purpose?

3. Come apart so you won’t come apart.

At one point Jesus and his disciples were so busy they didn’t have time to eat. Been there?

Got the t-shirt? Mark 6:31(NIV)

green-pasturesJesus gets them into a boat and off they go to a quiet place.

Are you drawing crowds?  Good. But come apart from the crowd occasionally, even if they need you.

4. Understand the power of a rested soul. There were sick people who needed healing. Jesus directed his disciples AWAY from the need. Jesus slowed his disciples down so they could rest their souls, not just their bodies.

The good Shepherd “…makes me lie down in green pastures.” Where are your green pastures? (Two of mine are a friend’s residence in Canmore and a cabin in Sylvan Lake, Alberta.)

Follow these four steps so you can be busy like Jesus in serving God.

Busy? Don’t be too hurried to leave a comment below.

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Bob Jones

Happily married to Jocelyn for 44 years. We have two adult sons, Cory and his wife Lynsey and their son Vincent and daughter Jayda; Jean Marc and his wife Angie and their three daughters, Quinn, Lena and Annora. I love inspiring people through communicating, blogging, and coaching. I enjoy writing, running, and reading. I'm a fan of the Double E, Bruins, Celtics, Red Sox and Pats. Follow me on Twitter @bobjones49ers


  • Mazankila says:

    Indeed Pastor. Thank you for the enlightenment. Dallas Gumbo

  • Ron Powell says:

    This was so helpful! I love the contrast between busy and hurried. A lot of us are not afraid of hard work. It is the anxiety of taking on too much and having too little time to do it well that moves us from healthy stress to distress.

  • bob jones says:

    When I am on my way to appointments and finding the margin I created to arrive on time has been eaten away, I remind myself to S-L-O-W down and not hurry because I want to be like Jesus. Late is not as good as “on time” but better than “doing time” for speeding. Thanks for commenting!

  • bob jones says:

    You are welcome.

  • Carole Schlachta says:

    That is wonderful! We often tend to
    go off on tangents even loosing sight of our purpose and goal.
    Do we often forget who we are doing things for. I remember once, teaching Sunday school, singing in the choir, leading a prayer group and leading a women’s ministry. One Sunday morning I went to church rushing carrying all kinds of things and my foot caught a top step and I fell down 13 step flight of stairs head first and knocked myself out. As a result I was on crutches for 2weeks.
    I remember sitting on my bed and saying, “Lord, why?” Well He answered me alright. Carole now maybe you will
    think this over a remember your family.
    I suddenly realized I was so busy for The Lord, I had neglected my husband and boys . I was exhausted and I needed to feed myself .
    The Lord clearly says, first Me and you, then your family and after that works outside and with the church family.
    I still have a tendency to run but I’m slowed again. M’y husband will be 80 yrs in a month and we are 53 yrs. married in August. I think I am learning to do what Jesus did, rest and feed myself spiritually. It is exciting the people The Lord had crossed my path with now.
    Remember rest, pray, read your bible, we won’t be any good to anyone if we don’t take care of our responsibilities. You may fall down busy empty stairs.

  • Ron Powell says:

    I remember you telling us one Sunday that you also tell yourself “Hurry Up and Slow Down.” I find that it is other people who try to rush me. That is a little harder to deal with graciously. Thanks for your important correction on this topic –there is no glory in sloth!!

  • bob jones says:

    Great wisdom, Carole. Thank you for sharing it. You’re making yourself “good to others.”

  • bob jones says:

    You have an AWESOME memory, Ron.

  • Tara Sinanan says:

    I try to follow Jesus’ example, except I write a list of things to do. After a long period Jesus called his disciples away to Eat and Rest. Then he slipped away to find a quiet place to Pray. I’m always busy, I like busy especially visiting or assisting others. I take time to stop, eat, rest, pray a few times. My green pasture is tending to my flowers and herb garden and reading.

  • bob jones says:

    You ARE busy but I’ve never seen you hurried. A garden as “a green pasture” – what a great place to come apart before you come apart.

  • Wendy Connors says:

    As always, thank you for your God filled loving words. As a single mom I certainly had to admit I have been hurried more than busy these last few months and I could feel it in my soul. I felt so far away from God, I simply had nothing left. Until I crashed and burned and I saw the “son” shining. I then rediscovered my purpose and refocused my time and energy. It is amazing how quietly and quickly life can swallow you up, coupled with exhausted emotions, it’s not an environment that serves you well. Especially if you forget about your anchor and fortress. Personally, this was so timely, He always finds a way to reach us even when we feel so out of touch. Feeling so blessed.

  • bob jones says:

    Who better than a single mom of two boys to know what “busy” and “hurried” feels like. At the same time you are great example as to what it is to live on purpose. Keep it up. Glad you saw the “Son” shining.

  • Maureen Barrett says:

    “I love the contrast between busy and hurried”. Well said Ron Powell. I am slowly getting there, and noticing I am so much more at peace by listening to inspiring music these days. I am super busy with a new job and new processes, but with prayer & listening to inspiring music, I am learning to slow down and embrace the business (busy-ness) of my life with the joy and peace that we were meant to experience day to day.

  • Ah maman Carole Merci pour ce conseil!

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