What does a man get for all the toil and anxious striving with which he labors
under the sun? (Eccl 2:22)
The slow pace of this virus time has made me re-evaluate my schedule. At times even though I was “doing less” I have felt that what I was doing was more significant. At other times because I was not “busy” I felt like I was being unproductive or insignificant and I would find myself anxious to be more “productive”.
The longing we each have to feel significant is hard to understand but is a very real need. When we are busy, we feel this need is being met. Often, however, we become busy but don’t actually do anything very significant. We can become busy and feel good about ourselves, but our busyness may not contribute very much to forever. The trap of busyness is that we tend to equate the value of our work with the amount of our work. In truth, busyness does not lead to significance, but to self-importance. Many times busy people become puffed up with themselves.
The kind of work which God approves of is born in Christ and is not puffed up in self-importance. It does not seek to be busy to feel important, it seeks to find significance for the glory of God. The real significant work is the kind preassigned by the Father. “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10). I hope through all this I am learning to patiently wait for God to reveal His important work. This kind of watch leads me to a more measured sort of work, a considered, controlled form of busyness that leads to a mindset of true significance.
Busyness is a curse of the devil. So what do busy people receive for all their toil and striving? “All his days his work is pain and grief; even at night his mind does not rest” (Eccl. 2:23). When I get back to busy I plan to stop and ask myself: “Does this busyness flow from the work God has revealed to me? Or am I merely searching impatiently for significance?” I have learned the person who slows down to hear the whisper of the Holy Spirit will labor in significance. The world may never recognize the importance of his good works, but the Spirit will testify with his spirit that it is the work God prepared in advance for him to do. And in the end I would rather have what God gives “To the man who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness” (Eccl. 2:26).
In His Service,
Eric Barnes