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How busy are you?

Nigel Gillson, 20th February 2017

Wall full of post-it notes

How busy are you?

No, really, how busy are you? Take a few minutes to list either in your mind or write it down on paper everything you have done today, or yesterday, or any day this past week. I'm talking about everything that you do that is not the normal duty of a human from the time you get up to the time you go to bed.

I recently did this for one of my days last week and I was truly surprised at everything that I crammed into 15 or so hours (ignoring the time I was asleep).

I am really busy! I rarely get a moment to myself, especially when I am at school. Let me share one of my typical days of the week with you and see if you can relate.

'I immediately start reading my emails'

I arrive at school at 7:30am, I immediately start reading my emails, ensuring my day's teaching plans are ready for me to grab for lessons, answer any important messages for my faculty, visit every member of staff in the faculty to provide support where necessary all before 8:30 briefing. At 8:45, I prepare for my first lesson and teach most of the day, or have meetings to attend, or mentor sessions with students, or walking around the faculty lending support with behaviour management, or being a visual presence as a deterrent to students. At the end of school at 3:10, I usually have one meeting or another before spending an extra few hours until about 6 planning lessons, marking books, some faculty job, or anything else that crops up. When I eventually get home, I am generally working until I go to bed most nights which could be quite late some nights.

OK, that is a brief summary, there are a lot more things in there I have to do, and many of the things are very time consuming, to the point where I often run out of time to complete the tasks I need to.

I was recently reading Jeremiah chapter 2 and was struck at how familiar the content was. You see the Israelites were God's people, they were his pride and joy, yet, despite everything He had done for them since leading them out of Egypt, despite the numerous times He forgave their wicked ways, despite Him leading them into the Promised Land and giving them everything they needed, the people of Israel continually turned away from God. They substituted God for other worthless gods, things like power, money, fame, and similar idols.

But there was something else in that chapter that astounded me even more and that was verse 8, which reads: The priests didn't ask, 'Where is the Lord?' The people who know the teachings didn't know me. The leaders turned against me. The prophets prophesied in the name of Baal and worshipped useless idols.

Doesn't this sound familiar? A society where God has been removed, forgotten and rejected?

Unfortunately, it sounds all too familiar. And here is the saddest part of it ...

... it is easily done! We all do this and sometimes it's done without thinking.

When we are faced with numerous jobs to do in the day, when there is so much to accomplish in so little time we end up running out of time and we don't complete everything we need to or want to. What's our solution to this? Simply - we get our priorities wrong and throw even more time at these tasks that usually prove to be unprofitable.

I have done just that. And it took me reading Jeremiah 2 to realise what I had been doing.

Every day I have been working busily to lead the faculty and teach, everything I have been doing has been for the academy and the students. There has been so much to do, I have had to drop some things from my daily routines. Can you guess what it is I dropped without even consciously dropping it?

'Society tells you that work is the most important, that you live to work'

Spending time with God.

You see, society imposes priorities upon you, whatever your walk of life is. Society tells you that you must do this or do that otherwise there will be consequences, and sometimes particular nasty consequences. Society tells you that work is the most important, that you live to work and so everything you do that is not work is less important.

In his letter to the Galatians, Paul declares in 2:21, "...I am not going against God's grace. Just the opposite, if the law could make you right with God, then Christ's death would be for nothing"

Society would have you believe that Christ's death is for nothing. That spending time with God each day or any day is pointless and unprofitable. It's not a priority.

Therefore, I would like to make a pact with everyone who reads this and hope you will want to help me achieve this. I am going to spend the first 15 minutes of my working day in prayer with God. I would love for you to join me, the power of prayer is truly amazing even if we are not in the same room praying together.

I refuse to let Christ's death mean nothing. I refuse to let God be forgotten. I refuse to live like the people of Israel in Jeremiah 2, substituting the one true God for the next big fad.

God truly loves each of us, that much is certain. He loves us so much He sent his only son, Jesus Christ, to die for our sins.

Shouldn't we, therefore, take some time out of our busy lifestyles to spend completely and whole-heartedly with him?