Unbusy – Mark 3,4; Isaiah 30
There was a time in Jesus ministry that He was extremely popular in public. People followed Him everywhere He went. Thousands upon thousands of people.
“Jesus went out to the lake with his disciples, and a large crowd followed him. They came from all over Galilee, Judea, Jerusalem, Idumea, from east of the Jordan River, and even from as far north as Tyre and Sidon. The news about his miracles had spread far and wide, and vast numbers of people came to see him. Jesus instructed his disciples to have a boat ready so the crowd would not crush him. He had healed many people that day, so all the sick people eagerly pushed forward to touch him.” Mark 3:7-10
Possibly upwards of 10,000 people would walk miles to see Him, listening to Him, bringing their sick, wanting to touch Him, touch His clothes, anything to receive from Him what others had. So vast were the crowds that Jesus had a boat made ready so He could distance Himself from the crowd by a few feet to avoid being literally crushed.
We rarely think of Jesus’ days being so busy, so intensely frantic, with a dozen or a hundred people pressing in every second, clamoring for just a moment’s attention. We can only imagine the toll this busyness took on our Lord.
In Mark 4, after a long day of ministry by the lakeshore, Jesus was exhausted. He instructed the disciples to take Him to the other side of the lake. Although it was late and He was tired, the Bible says “they took Him along in the boat as He was.” Jesus found a pillow and a place at the stern and went to sleep. So deep was His sleep that a great storm arose that caused the disciples, some seasoned fishermen, to fear for their lives, yet Jesus slept on. Spent.
The disciples woke Him and He arose and calmed the wind and waves and said, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” (4:40)
This may give us a hint as to how Jesus was able to manage such a busy life. Busyness that would make our daily calendar appear like a leisurely walk in the park by comparison.
He operated out of a place of rest and peace. Jesus lived an unbusy life in the midst of non-stop action because His strength came from the stillness and quietness of resting in God.
Isaiah prophetically says much the same thing to fearful Israelites who were looking for relief in all the wrong places.
“This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: Only in returning to me and resting in me will you be saved. In quietness and confidence is your strength. But you would have none of it.” Isaiah 30:15
Repentance, or in this translation, “returning to me,” is first. We must surrender our sins and missteps, the busyness of our own efforts and toil, and then rest in God.
From there we will be saved. And not only in the eternal sense, because saved also means ‘made whole’, where the things that are lacking in our lives, things like peace, patience, gentleness, self control, are ours in Christ. And we are made strong by the quietness and confidence that comes from resting in the finished work of Christ.
It is possible to be an unbusy person today. To give full attention to those who need it. To truly listen, to keep focus, to share from a pure heart the goodness of the Lord and be a blessing to all you encounter. Sure it will be tiring, Jesus slept like a rock, but when He awoke it was without fear and with great faith, and He calmed the storms that threatened the people around Him – much like you may be called to do.
To be unbusy you will likely need to get up long before others, or carve out some other focused time each day, to spend in stillness, repentance, listening and prayer – preparing your heart, mind and soul to remain in the bosom of Jesus every moment of the day. Only then can you serve like Jesus, from a place of rest. Unbusy. Christ-centered.