Posted by: Aaron McCarter | July 9, 2007

a badge of honor

This is the last night of a pseudo vacation for me. The first 3 days I was working (even though I was at the beach), and the last 3 days I’ve been hanging out with my wife and my in-laws…which doesn’t count as a full-scale vacation, but is still a great time a way (believe it or not, I really like my in-laws!). It’s been relaxing…uncharacteristically unbusy. I wasn’t at church on Sunday, so most everyone I know is aware that I’m out of town…so the phone has hardly rung. I got a head start on most of my work for this week, so I’m not scrambling to finish things up. I’m not busy.

It feels strange to say that. It doesn’t sound right (I know how it sounds because I say-out-loud whatever I’m typing). It gets stuck on the tongue, like a profanity you have to push out against your will. It almost feels un-American.

I heard a preacher say that busy-ness is a badge of honor in our country. I think he was right. We seem to take every opportunity to announce how busy we are. It’s usually the truth…but why are we so anxious to broadcast it? Even to overstate it.

It makes me feel important. Like I’m in high demand. To be honest, when someone wants to setup a time to meet with me and I don’t have a free minute for weeks, part of me mourns my lack of accessibility, and another part of me swells with pride as my badge of honor twinkles in the sun.

I think it may be worse for pastors. Two reasons: First, we’re a pretty insecure bunch to begin with. Second, since people tend to the think we only work on Sundays, and since that’s incredibly hurtful, we feel the need to showcase our crammed calendars.

But I think this one’s true for a lot of us.

I think some people declare their extreme busy-ness as a way to keep people from asking anything of them.
person a: “Hey, maybe so-and-so could help us out?”
person b:”Nah, they’re always so busy.”
person a: “Yeah, you’re right.”

…ahh, just like we planned it. Right?

We think extreme busyness denotes extreme importance and ambition. However, it most often indicates a lack of time management, selfishness, and misaligned priorities…and maybe even an out-and-out lie! Perhaps it shouldn’t be a badge of honor. Maybe we’d be better off making people think that we do have time for them. Because, the truth is, we do. If we’re following the example of Jesus, we do.

In the Gospels, Jesus is always intentional and on-task, but never too busy. He was always on mission, but never inaccessible.

The problem is that if we keep announcing our extreme busyness and frantic scheduling crises to everybody around us, we start to believe it. And then we buy into the lie that we don’t have the time to help the people around us…or to spend some time in prayer…or to do anything outside of ourselves. We stop keeping a Sabbath, we let boundaries crumble, and we neglect things of great importance (like people).

Tomorrow I’ll drive back home and re-enter the rat-race. And, yeah, I’ll be busy. Just hopefully not too busy.

We’ll see.

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Responses

  1. Aaron,

    I am an East Tennessee boy now serving as the Colleg/Young Singles pastor in Middle Tn. My little brother, Brad Woods, told me to check out your website. I, too, went to William Blount High School (I assume you did too b/c Brad told me you all went to school together). Anyway, I have enjoyed your website as well as your blog. As I have been away from Maryville for over ten yrs now, it is always neat to hear about a fellow gov investing in God’s Kingdom. God bless you and those He has entrusted under your care–may He continue to use you to further His Kingdom in Maryville and beyond!!!


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