By Basilea Schlink
Busyness! Do we sometimes imagine that this is something good? That energy and industriousness stand behind it? Or at least that it is necessary so that we can achieve something? No. Busyness separates us from Jesus. It is a sin and has a negative effect upon my life of faith.
Everything depends upon whether or not I am at one with Jesus. Jesus says, "He who abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit" (John 15: 5). Only what we do in union with Jesus, who is "Life", will have divine life and never perish. Only that will we be able to find as fruit in eternity.
But we know that Satan makes every effort to rob us of this eternal fruit. He wants to hinder us, at any cost, from spending the day united with our Lord Jesus, because he knows that this oneness with Jesus makes us strong. Then we are at one with the Lord of heaven and earth, who has power over every name that is named. His power is then ours and provides blessing for our work. On the other hand, if we poor sinners are separated from Jesus, we can only do worthless things, that will blow away like chaff, no matter how good they may look at first.
That is why Satan tries every possible trick to make our work completely captivate us and thus separate us from Jesus. Work can chain us, because it interests us too much, because it satisfies our human desires and because we find our fulfilment in it. Work can incite our ambition. We want to attain many things and receive success and recognition. Some just love to work. They like to see what they can do. Or work can become an escape, a way to deaden our consciences, because we have not kept our lives straightened out. During such periods our prayer-times become quite unbearable. Some people who have a great deal to do fall into the mad rush. They are wound up and therefore cannot pray while they work.
So Satan comes at us from various directions and tries to drive us into busyness, into a life without Jesus, for Satan is the malicious spirit of unrest. Jesus, however, is the Prince of peace. Whoever does His work with Him is in peace and does not rush. Then our industrious work is not a mad rush. We are not enslaved to work and driven by it, but we work together with God, drawing our strength from our times of quiet. It is full of divine life, zeal and joy.
But even though we know that we are only unhappy when we are separated from Jesus, there are usually chains binding us to our work. Again and again we have to lament that we lose our communion with Jesus during the course of the day. Indeed, when we are engaged in our various tasks, we tend to forget Him for hours. But this busyness in our work can no longer be tolerated in our lives. It is not simply harmless "rushing" or "losing oneself in the work", rather it is a sin which will bring us the most severe punishment. Who has ever applied Jesus' words seriously to his own busyness? "If a man does not abide in me, he is cast forth as a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire and burned" (John 15: 6) "Cast forth" is the fate of the busy. They will be cast forth from the countenance of Jesus and His kingdom, because they did not work for God in personal love for Him and in His sight. Not only will his works be burned, but also he himself. So we must be redeemed from busyness, no matter what the cost.
But how do we get there? "Abiding in Him", doing everything together with Jesus, is a matter of practice. We should practise saying the name JESUS over and over again in our heart. While we are working, we should practise saying, "For You! For You!" Before going to sleep, let us ask ourselves whether we were with Jesus during the day. Let us ask the Spirit of God to admonish us the next day to think about Jesus. During our morning prayer before work let us lay this request before Him again. And if we suffer especially under the sin of busyness, we should let Him show us how we can be reminded at work to speak a prayer every hour.
We must not stop beseeching the Lord for this "abiding in Christ", even if we experience many defeats. Every time we have lost the inner contact with Him at work, we should try to tie the bond anew, though it may be a hundred times a day. The fruit of our work for all eternity depends upon this. We must set for ourselves a definite goal of faith. And let us ask Jesus every day:
Let me be immersed in You, deeper and deeper, until
I can no longer lose You. Set me free through the
power of Your blood from my bondage to work!
God will answer and we will experience that Jesus is a Redeemer, who will set us free from the chains which bind us to our work. Then we will be bound to Him and bring forth eternal fruit to His glory.
Jesus You are my everything!
I will talk with You and work for You!
I want to plan, consider and make all my
decisions with You!
Nothing shall be done without You, lest You
should become an outcast.
Bind me tightly to You, so that nothing can
separate us during the day: no work, no burden, no
other interest, no joy.
May I evermore live in Your holy presence,
For You are here!