Friday, June 11, 2010

Busy As A Caterpillar?

I have recenly become a fan of John Wooden, the deceased head basketball coach at UCLA. This Christian family man was one of the most successful coaches of all time, and I am amazed that I have not come in contact with him before now. Granted, I am not a basketball fan at all, but this guy has incredible wisdom, and he hit a Home Run (or I guess I should say, a three-pointer) with his statement, "Never mistake activity for achievement."

Bees are busy because each of them is doing exactly what they need to do for the hive to survive. We admire them so much that the saying, "busy as a bee," is used to praise someone who is not lazy.

Why don't we say, "busy as a caterpillar?" Well, caterpillars don't look busy, but they are. From the moment they hatch they eat and grow. Some, like the tobacco hornworm, eat so much they increase their weight 10,000% in just 20 days. And, even when they are in the pupal stage looking completely inactive, they are going through a metamorphosis that will transform them from a leaf-munching worm into a beautiful flying insect that defies gravity. We don't think they're being productive, because they don't look busy.

Most people think they are being productive if they are being busy. I know men and women who cannot sit still, even to spend time with God. A farmer-rancher I used to preach to in Texas was so busy that he kept time at church. At 11:55 a.m. he would ceremonially lift his wristwatch to his face and tap the dial to make sure I knew that time was almost up. Then at 12 noon, regardless of what was going on, he would get up and walk out to go and tend to his busy-ness.

Most churches think that being busy is good and that not being busy is, well, less than good. And, since the church is the people, most Christians feel the same way. We complain about how busy life is. We wax spiritual saying that our trouble is, "We are just too busy for God," talking about how busy our lives are outside of the church, when we may actually guage spirituality within the church by the standard of "busy is better."

The bottom line is that alot of us are like the cowboy in Texas. We don't give God much more than 1 hour a week. We can't sit still for a "quiet time." Quiet time is viewed as wasted time, and, besides, we simply cannot sit still. We think that life requires us to fill up 168 hours a week with activity. And, alot of us have transferred that workaholic attitude to our spritual lives. We will spend hundreds of hours doing "church" activities, hundreds working, hundreds doing family stuff, having convinced ourselves that activity is achievement. Never make that mistake. We must, regularly, be still in order to know that He is God.