I’m sure you are familiar with the concept of “busy work.” It’s the work given in an educational setting that keeps the students occupied for a period of time but doesn’t contribute much to the overall educational goals. Teachers use it when they need to work with smaller groups of students. Or when they need to get paperwork done. I think we’ve all experienced this at one time or another. But a couple of weeks ago I realized the concept of “busy work” had crept into my spiritual life.
When we were on a week long business trip recently, we decided to go to a local church on the Sunday morning we were there. The pastor preached on “I am the vine, you are the branches.” A very familiar passage and concept, one that has been significant in my own spiritual journey. So while I was listening and engaged, I wasn’t necessarily expectant.
But the Holy Spirit tends to speak loud in those kinds of situations, doesn’t He?
As I was listening to the pastor talk about bearing fruit—both internally, as in the Fruit of the Spirit, and externally, as to the work the Lord gives us to do here on earth—a thought plopped loud into my head. An idea I’d never considered before:
God doesn’t give busy work.
Within a few moments I knew exactly what that meant, and I bowed my head in repentance.
You see, when the Lord brought extraordinary circumstances to bear in my life last year, providing not only an agent but a book contract, I was elated. I have continued to be elated because I have something to do. I’m no longer bored or waiting around on other people or even just reading all day. My days have purpose—to meet my deadlines. To try for other book contracts. And I’ve been blessed to indeed have a second book to write.
I know those things came from God. I have worked hard on them. Been grateful for them. But honestly, I thought of them as “busy work.” I unconsciously pictured Father God patting me on the head and saying, “Here’s something to keep you busy and out of the way.”
But God doesn’t give busy work.
As the pastor continued to talk about fruit that comes from abiding the vine, my conviction grew. I hadn’t considered my current work as fruit for the kingdom. Because of the nature of these publications, I don’t even own my words, I’ve simply been hired to write them. Even the republishing of my previous books. They aren’t new except for covers and my name. See? It all seemed like busy work.
And yet is isn’t. Because the truth is that the branches that abide in the vine bear fruit in all things because that’s what they are made to do. The vine doesn’t give the branches “busy work” that leads to nothing.
And so I’m in the process of changing the way I’m looking at some things in my life at the moment. Have I considered this or that as “busy work” or as a call from God to bear fruit for His kingdom in some form or fashion? Because how I view my work is important. It is part of being a healthy branch attached to the vine.
But understanding this had led to a further reminder of truth. God doesn’t give “busy work” because I’m not an afterthought. An inconvenience. He hasn’t set me aside. He doesn’t just need to keep me occupied so I won’t bother Him. No, He has fruitful work for me to do. Big or small, doesn’t matter. If He’s given it, it is important, and I need to view it as such.
How about you? Is there something in your life right now you’ve thought of as “busy work,” not really important to God or His kingdom? Is it something you need to let go of or something you need to shift your mindset about?