“It is far more biblical to learn quietness and attentiveness before God than to be overtaken by what John Oman named the twin perils of [the Christian life]; ‘flurry and worry,’ for flurry dissipates energy and worry constipates it.”
Eugene Peterson, “The Unbusy Pastor”
Every year I assign our Seminary Interns an article written many years ago by a pastor named Eugene Peterson. The article’s title is a good one because it is intriguing: “The Unbusy Pastor”. Seminary students are fascinated by such a notion. How can a pastor not be busy? There’s so much work a minister needs to do: write sermons, create a bulletin, visit the sick, participate in committees, answer emails, and much more.
Peterson suggests in his article that the three main duties of a pastor are prayer, spending time in the Scriptures and being present with people. He argues that all three take time and none of those activities can happen if a pastor is running non-stop from one duty to another.
Unbusyness doesn’t just happen. You have to intend it to happen. To be unbusy doesn’t mean you sit around and nothing. Believe me, there’s plenty to keep my days full and active. Unbusyness is a goal and an attitude. It is borne from our priorities.
We begin our Stewardship Emphasis this Sunday morning. I hope that you have received our Fall Stewardship newsletter. If you didn’t get a copy, you can get one on the Table of Well Wishing or by calling the church office. As you enter into this most wonderful and important season of the year, I would call you to be an unbusy Christian, if only for an hour or two. I’d like to ask you to stop for a while so that you think for a while about what you will give in these coming weeks. Consider all three aspects of stewardship: time, talent and treasure.
Time: I know. You are busy, so to be unbusy may sound ridiculous to you. I won’t argue with you but I would ask you to consider your schedule. What time can you give to the work and mission of the church? You have no time, you say. Maybe you don’t. Can you create some time by saying No to an activity or limiting one? What if you shut off the television for one night a week? Now you have three extra hours you didn’t have before. Look to give your time in these coming weeks and months. Be sure to take part in the Church Has Left the Building Weekend on November 5th and 6th. Giving of your time is deeply satisfying.
Talents: God has given you gifts and talents to share. Many Christians have no idea what their talents are. On Sunday, October 30th, we gather for a Fifth Sunday at 9:30 a.m. and on that day I will preach on the special gifts God gives us. Following worship we’re going to enjoy the Fall Festival but you can also sign up that morning for one of our mission initiatives so you can get into the game. All I know is that we need you to use your talents in order for us to be the church God wants us to be. Using your talents is deeply rewarding.
Treasure: All that we have, including the money we have, is a gift from God. We’ve been entrusted with it. God wants us to use what we have to care for our families and to glorify Him by enjoying the gifts He gives. But God certainly expects that we will generously give to support the work of this Church Family and to meet the needs of the poor and lost. Giving of your money roots me in God’s goodness.