Many of us have complained at some point about being too busy. Jesus was busy. In Mark 5:21-43, having fed a multitude of people with the words of eternal life on the shores of Galilee, to calming a storm at sea, Jesus heads for the Gadarene on the other side.
Setting His foot on dry land Jesus is immediately confronted by a demon-possessed madman. Jesus sets him free. Leaving the neighbourhood and heading back across the sea, Jesus steps into Galilee once again and is immediately swamped by enthusiastic and curious followers.
No sooner does he make it up the beach and He is interrupted by a local synagogue ruler named Jairus. Jairus pleads with Jesus to lay His hand upon his dying daughter. On His way to the home of Jarius, Jesus is touched by a woman who had been hiding among the sea of people.
Jesus heals her of a debilitating and defiling condition.
He then discovers that the girl he was on his way to heal is dead. Jesus turns to comfort Jairus with the words, “Do not be afraid, only believe.”
When Jesus gets to the house the girl is in fact dead. Jesus goes in, takes the girl by the hand and raises her from the dead. He then calls forth the family to give her something to eat.
All in a days’ work. What did you do yesterday?
Jesus was not only busy: He was fruitful. He was productive. His productivity consisted of being a neighbour to the person directly in front of Him at any given moment.
Some people feel guilty that they aren’t doing enough for God. Others feel guilty because they use “busyness” as an excuse to avoid serving the neighbour in their path. But what does God require of us?
Solomon has a great saying that offers a very helpful starting point. Solomon says,
Whatever your hand finds to do, that do with all your might. (Ecclesiastes 9:10)
Instead of grasping at things to fill up your own lap, what would it look like to serve Jesus by just doing what comes across our path and giving it your total commitment at any given moment?
Jesus promises grace for these moments (Matthew 6:30, 34).
We tend to bury ourselves beneath things not required, not commanded, and then have little time left for the people God actually brings across our path. These things exhaust us and then we complain. We switch fruitfulness for busyness and burn ourselves out.
What we are often really doing is trying to be a little powerhouse god, rather than simply and joyfully serving God right where we’re at today.
God calls us to die to ourselves by dying to that multitude of pointless, busy tasks in order to do a few, glorious yet simple things day by day.
That was Jesus. God put Jesus to death in order to put Him to work, in order that He might bear fruit to God.
Jesus surrendered and died to a multitude of ordinary good things in order to busy Himself with a few really great and glorious things, many of them seemingly small; like the present need of a synagogue ruler’s dying daughter.
Jesus was busy at work, attending to a multitude of otherwise unnoticed, small, yet glorious opportunities to bring mercy and rest. Opportunities—not to be grasped at—but which, in God’s providence, were brought across His path.
Jesus didn’t burn out because, as a man, He was depending on strength from above. Jesus trusted that God would bring across His path all that was required of Him and that God would also supply the grace to tackle those things joyfully.