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Solutions to the Busyness Dilemma

Recall that last week we looked at the issue of busyness as it relates to disciple-making. We suggested that there were three basic camps of people, and three busyness “sub-problems:”

  1. Those that spend all day in solo pursuits and have no time to interact with other people
  2. Those who have interactions with other people but fail to see these interactions as disciple-making opportunities
  3. Those that have interactions with people and see them as disciple-making opportunities, but interact with too many people to be effective

It’s one thing to point out challenges, but we don’t want to stop there. In the interest of helping individuals in all three camps, we present below an idea or two in each category for moving in the right direction.

If you’re in the first camp above, there’s a very good chance that you believe that happiness comes in pursuing your own interests. The Bible indicates otherwise. When asked what was the greatest commandment in the law, Jesus replied:

Matthew 22:37–40
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.

Is it possible that a good God could command His people to do anything other than that which will be in His and their best interest (see also Hebrews 11:6)? Don’t stop looking for happiness; just realize that God knows more about your happiness than you do. Begin to serve people and you will find, as countless others have, that this is a much more joyful way to go through life (credit to Randy Alcorn for his helpful analysis in Happiness on this and related points).

If you’re in the second camp, we have a two-part prescription. First, create a list of individuals in the various spheres in which you interact. Make sure to list especially those people that seem far from God. Now prayerfully select two people from the list and two pools of people for which to pray. Commit to praying for these two pools and two people every day. Then let us know how Jesus moves through these prayers by sharing your story.

If you are in the third camp, you probably already know that you need to say “no” more often. You might not know just how often, though. Here’s an exercise to try for one week: in every significant interaction you have with someone, follow up at least once by text, email, or phone. It’s a good idea to get in the habit of following up with people anyway, but what this exercise will show you is that each interaction carries additional time commitments with it. If we meet with someone and don’t have time to follow up, it’s kind of like buying a house that’s too expensive and then not being able to furnish it. If there’s no time to follow up, there wasn’t time for the meeting in the first place.

Those are a few thoughts for today. Do you have additional ideas for combating the busyness dilemma? Let us know by leaving a comment.

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