Living On The Ragged Edge: Christian Faithfulness In A Time Famine -- By: Denis D. Haack

Journal: Reformation and Revival
Volume: RAR 08:3 (Summer 1999)
Article: Living On The Ragged Edge: Christian Faithfulness In A Time Famine
Author: Denis D. Haack

Living On The Ragged Edge: Christian
Faithfulness In A Time Famine

Denis D. Haack

Busyness is one of the predominant characteristics of our age. It isn’t necessary to try to prove that assertion: the proposition seems so self-evident, and the complaint so ubiquitous as to make any attempt to prove it seem superfluous. It would also seem self-evident that Christians living in such an age would be careful—and quick—to reflect biblically on it, since the press of busyness exercises such a powerful effect on their lives and culture. In point of fact, however, it is far from evident that most believers are attempting anything of the kind, even though they may complain regularly about the “shortage of time” and its accompanying problems. The leadership of the church must take the lead in thinking Christianly about the modern understanding of time and the busyness which no one claims to want, but which few appear to escape. For one thing, we are created to live in time as finite creatures, and must never assume, in a fallen world, that our view of time is fully biblical. Besides, being busy is no guarantee of Christian faithfulness. Martha was involved with “many things,” Jesus said, but that did little to impress Him since, from His perspective, “only one thing was necessary” (Luke 10:41–42). It is of little value to have a full calendar if we have no time for what the Lord deems essential.

This is not to suggest, however, that evangelical leaders have been silent on the topic. We too sense the press of busyness in our lives and ministry, and we often exhort our

people to “seek God and His kingdom” as a first priority in their lives and commitments. If we are honest, though, experience seems to indicate that these exhortations are insufficient in themselves to solve the problem. Neither is the growth of “time management seminars” in evangelical circles, though some of them teach helpful techniques and can sometimes provide real—if temporary—relief. More is needed than exhortations and techniques because the problem of busyness, at root, is more complex than either “solution” assumes. In any case, the incidence of burnout among committed believers and church leaders should be adequate warning that a problem has infected the church—and the culture—which requires careful discernment.

My goal in this article—given the depth of the problem—is a very modest one: to identify three areas of biblical instruction which together can become the beginning point for reflecting biblically on time and the problem of busyness. I will not try to trace all the sources for our busyness, though that could be a h...

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