The Pastor's Study: Crazy Busy

"Don't think Jesus can't sympathize with your busyness."  

Many times, when I receive an e-mail, a request, or a phone call, asking for time with me, people who know me are almost apologetic as they almost always say, "I know you are really busy but..."  And it's true.  I am busy.  I am a pastor of a growing, youthful church.  I am married with five children who are all home schooled.  I coach volleyball teams.  And I have a ton of fun things that I like to do when time allows.  But I am no different than anyone else in our western culture.  We are all busy.  Very busy.  Insanely busy.  This is why I was excited to receive a very short book called, "Crazy Busy" by a very good author and pastor, Kevin DeYoung.  Kevin is an ordained pastor in the Reformed Church in America and a member of the Gospel Coalition - all good stuff.  

As a pastor, I struggle with saying "no."  But I also know the freedom of saying "no."  I hear about 100's of different causes every year.  Members and non-members of the church where I serve as pastor are part of so many different great causes and ministries that it would be impossible to advertise them all.  I often feel guilty that we don't have the time or resources to support every single missionary that asks to be supported, or get on board with every single 5k that is fighting a worthy cause, or promote every single recognition day that is fighting some atrocity overseas.  It is overwhelming!  But DeYoung reminded me and his readers that even Jesus chose between good things and best things.  Even Jesus did not heal every single person that wanted to be healed.  Even Jesus left one town that was clamoring for him in order to reach the next town over that did not even yet know he existed.  Why?  Because Jesus was not ruled by people or causes or even time.  Jesus was living in submission to the Father's will.  

DeYoung reminds us that we often are doing good things that God has not called us to do and that there is freedom in recognizing you can't do it all.  He writes, 

"The Bible is a big book, and there's a lot in there.  So the Bible says a lot about the poor, about marriage, about prayer, about evangelism, about missions, about justice; it says a lot about a lot.  Almost any Christian can make a case that their thing should be the main thing or at least one of the most important things.  It is easy for preachers and leaders, or just plain old Christian friends, to pound away at "more"...Doing something about the global AIDS crisis, tackling homelessness, getting water to an impoverished village - these overwhelm me.  Along with some advice I've gotten about pastoral ministry:  make sure you do a few hours of counseling a week; make sure you are working to develop leaders every week; make sure you are doing one-on-one discipleship every week; make sure you do a few hours of evangelism every week; make sure you reserve half a day for reading every week...who is sufficient for these things?  What do I do?  Where do I start?  Where do I find the time?  How can I possibly meet all of these obligations?  I have five children and a full-time job.  I try to be generous with my money, try to share my faith once in awhile, try to do family devotions more often than not, try to take my wife out on a date every other week, try to respond to needs in my church, and try to pray for the poor and the lost.  Is it possible that God is not asking me to do anything about sex trafficking right now?"  

Personally, I felt a giant sense of relief with DeYoung's conclusions.  But they are worthless conclusions if they are not founded in Scripture.  DeYoung, in a very practical way, brings good Scriptural exegesis and theology to bear on his conclusions.  In other words, his conclusions are sound and refreshing.  He illustrates his points with Scripture that is related to his point.  This is important because many books, authors, preachers, and Bible Study leaders, make their point and try to inject Scripture rather than make their point from Scripture.  

Should you read this book?  It depends on how you answer these questions.  Do you feel overwhelmed throughout the day and throughout the week?  Do you find that you get angrier the busier you are?  Do you feel addicted to screens (phones, computers, TV's)?  Do you never have time to get to the really important things in life?  Do you worry about your kids?  When is the last time you really prayed in private?  Was it abnormal or part of routine?  Do you go to bed late?  Do you work long hours?  Do you ever get a real break?  Is the break every week?  Every day?  Every month?   

"Crazy Busy" will take most readers about 2 hours to read through it's entirety and it will be worth almost every minute of your time.  Essentially, the book is made up of an introduction about the problem of busyness, followed by three dangers to avoid when thinking about busyness, seven diagnosis of why we are busy, and finally one chapter concerning the one thing we must do as pertaining to busyness.  Each chapter is succinct, brief, full of interesting illustrations and concrete ideas about busyness without seemingly ever entering into a 5 step program on how to fix everything.  

This book is not a theological dissertation and certainly is incredibly accessible to readers of all ages.  DeYoung, by his own admission, did not set out to write a self-help book but rather has given us a jewel on how to rethink the way we live our lives in a fast-paced and ever technologically changing culture.  In particular for me, the chapters, "Stop Freaking Out About Your Kids" and "You Are Letting The Screen Strangle Your Soul" were convicting and encouraging all at the same time.  But if I am really honest with myself, as I was reading these chapters and filtering through my life I was also pretty much thinking about everyone I know who has children and is on Facebook or instagramming this very minute.  Don't just pin this book to your board.  Go to amazon and download it to your Kindle and get started.  It's worth it.  

"Crazy Busy" is a much needed book about how we can redeem the time God has given us.  It is short.  It is encouraging.  It is useful.  It is Scriptural.  


Busyness is Bad for You: A brief word from Kevin about the dangers of busyness from Crossway on Vimeo.

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