Question: “I have recently been so busy with _________, that sometimes I wonder if it is affecting my relationship with God. How do I balance all the things in my life?”
Your question is an important one and I omitted the specific source of your busy-ness because I’m sure others feel the same way about things in their life (e.g., studying at school, participating in sports, running a small business, caring for children at home, earning that promotion, etc.).
All of us are extremely busy and the Bible does not call us so much to balance all the things in our lives, as it does to make sure that there is one thing that always comes first: God’s Kingdom.
“Do not fret, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the heathens chase. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. Rather, seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” (my translation of Matthew 6:31-34).
Jesus is not here suggesting that we adopt a care-less or non-chalant attitude toward our responsibilities in this world. We need food, drink, and clothing; and obtaining these things requires much time and energy.
What Jesus is warning against is this: Allowing these things to become so central in our lives that we lose sight of God’s Kingdom and begin acting like heathens.
Heathens have no assurance that God exists, knows them, loves them, or that he will provide for their daily needs. Therefore, they have no choice other than to chase frantically after the things of this world in a crazed state of constant panic.
Sadly, and even though Christians know that God loves his children and will provide for them, we sometimes act just like the heathen. Two tragic things happen when we do this:
First of all, when we begin to fret or chase after the things of this world, we forfeit the peace and joy that flows from seeking God and his Kingdom first. God will allow us to feel stressed and miserable as a loving act of discipline.
Secondly, such fretting and chasing also gives a terrible testimony to others. Why would they want to convert and become like us? As Spurgeon said, “Christian, do not dishonor your religion by always wearing a brow of care!”
Either of these consequences should be enough to motivate us to refocus our priorities so that God and his Kingdom always come first. I would offer this pastoral admonition to close:
If you are so busy with ______ that you do not pray daily, read God’s word daily, attend public worship weekly, and participate in other “kingdom business” like mid-week Bible studies, missionary visits, and outreach events, then yes, _____ has negatively affected your relationship with God and you need to repent.
Here’s the good news: God has promised to pardon our sins AND to provide all our worldly needs as we seek his Kingdom first. As Jesus said, “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” You can trust him.