05 Nov I don’t have the time

I get it. Trust me, I do.

You’re busy. I’m busy. We’re all busy.

Between kids, work, family and other responsibilities…not to mention trying to make time for a date night every once in a while…our schedules can be CRAZY!

For some of us, we wear our busyness like a badge of honor, as if the more we do, the more we are.

I’m not sure we should be proud of this…

I think we need to rethink how we think about busyness…if we can find the time, of course.

You see, the other day I saw a man walking a dog.

Actually, that’s not true.

I saw a dog walking a man.

The dog was an absolute beast of an animal and try as this guy may, the dog, not the man, was in charge of that walk.

I think many of us might feel the same way about our schedules.

We’re holding the leash, but the beast we call our schedules is really leading the way.

And that’s a problem.

I meet so many well-intended Christians who claim to not have ‘time’ for church, but…well…how do I say this?

Yes, you do. You have time.

You have the same amount of time as everyone else.

We’ve all got what we’ve all got.

60 seconds per minute.

60 minutes per hour.

24 hours per day.

7 days per week.

We all have the same amount of time in a day.

What’s differs from person to person is how we spend that time.

We don’t choose how much time there is in a day, but we do choose how to spend the time in that day.

Technology has promised to make our days easier, to make our use of time more efficient, but most of us are busier than ever. The myth of technology was that as advancements increase, we’d have more and more free time to enjoy, but look around – do you really see more joy?

Is this what freedom, joy, and peace really look like?

Rather than being increasingly set free, many of us feel more trapped by our schedules than ever before.

And for some reason, in this chaotic frenzy of rushed routines, one of the first things to go is committed,consistent participation in the life of a local church.

In many ways, this decrease in participation is actually an abuse of grace. Yes, you read that correctly – I know it may sound harsh, but I believe it is true. Many of us (myself included) have become slaves to lesser things – in this case, our schedules. Rather than hiding behind the garden’s fig leaves, we’re hiding behind the grace, the kindness, the goodness of God.

“God is good,” we say! “God understands.” “God is patient and kind and knows we’re busy,” we tell ourselves.

There is grace!

And to that I give a resounding, “Yes! Yes! Yes! Amen!All true!”

But while God understands the busyness of your schedule, your heart, your soul, and your deep needs, those needs cannot possibly be cared for by the allure of isolation or in the hurried demands of our overcommitted schedules.

Yes, there is grace, but when grace becomes the shrubbery we hide behind to encourage a way of living that is hurried and rushed and broken and contrary to the way of Jesus, a way disconnected from the people of

God, we have distorted God’s good gift of grace.

Just because God understands your busyness doesn’t mean your busyness is good for your heart, your soul, or your family. And on top of all that, what does busyness that takes us away from church, away from each other, away from worship, away from community, say to the rest of the world?

Let’s bring it in closer…

What does it communicate to our children?

I hear many well-intentioned parents lament their absence from the life of a local church for the sake of their children.

This is good, but it is incomplete. Yes, your children need it, but you need it too. Do not think your age somehow exempts your heart from the deep needs of faith, hope and love that can only be nurtured in the context of Christian community (Hebrews 10:19-25).

In fact, I am more and more convinced that our children don’t just need us to want this for them; our children need us to want this – need this, even – for ourselves.

It’s like telling our children to eat their veggies and then them watching us not eat ours. The message is conflicting.

You don’t age out of your need for God. You also don’t age out of your need for the church, a place and people where faith, hope and love can be grown, strengthened and unleashed.

You need this.

You need us.

We need you.

You have the time.

In fact, you don’t have the time to not make the time for this.

In the Gospels, Jesus was often scolded by the religious elite for his apparent abuse of the Sabbath day (a day each week in which the people of God were commanded to not do work, and rest).

The problem was, many people couldn’t agree on which work was in and which was out.

For Jesus, the Sabbath, this beautiful gift of a day in which we rest and pray and play in response to the loving command of God, was the perfect day to heal people and care for others.

When the religious authorities rebuked him for healing on the Sabbath (for them healing was work and work was forbidden so healing was forbidden on the Sabbath), Jesus pushed back, saying to them…

“The Sabbath was made for people, not people for the Sabbath.”

Maybe we need to start seeing our schedules the way Jesus saw Sabbath.

In the same way the Sabbath was created for you, by God, to care for you and give you a rest, what would it look like to see your schedule as something created for you, to care for you, rather than something to control and exhaust you?

What would need to go?

What needs to change?

When your schedule is out of control, it is in control of you, and when we are mastered by anything other than God, even something as ‘good’ as our schedules, we become slaves to something unworthy of our allegiance and loyalty.

It is for freedom Christ set us free (Galatians 5:1). God’s freed people have no business being mastered by anything other than Jesus – not even our schedules.

Jesus is Lord, not your schedule.

In fact, after Jesus put the Pharisees in their place and reminded them that the Sabbath was created for us, not us for the Sabbath, Jesus takes it a step further. Here’s the full verse:

“And He said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27-28).

Jesus is Lord.

He is Lord of the Sabbath.

And as followers of Jesus, he ought to be Lord of our schedules as well.

This isn’t about guilt.

This isn’t about shame.

We all have things that come up from time to time that are beyond our control.

But this is about growing and taking control of our schedules so they don’t take control of us.

Let’s learn to teach our schedules to kneel at the feet of Jesus – together.