Creating an Empire of Busy
I have this obsession.
I am not sure when it started. As far back as I can remember, maybe due to teen angst or whatever rebellion I had mustered up in my own little world, I lived my life as unmotivated as a can of soup. Or maybe, I had no outlet to apply myself in. That I made myself believe in mediocrity and that was okay.
At some point I grew up. And I found the aforementioned outlet. And I began to work. And I kept working. And I worked still.
And I did not need calendars because I had trained myself to be on top of things. And I did not hang out on Friday and Saturday nights because I would rather be productive. And I worked during the day. And I worked at night. And I did things on my own even though I needed help. And I was up against the world.
I’ll show them.
And my mom would check up on me, and I would call her two nights later to apologize that I got so busy: “Sorry mom, things are crazy right now. No, I have not eaten yet. Yes I am aware it is 10:30, I just need to finish this up.”
And I would rely on the love of my brother, and use it as an excuse to not check in with him: “Dweire and I pick up right where we left off. I have that special connection. I do not need to call him every few days.”
Even coming to church on Sunday mornings became an uphill battle: “Dude. I’m straight dragging this morning. I was out till 2:30 last night. That band was awesome though.”
Obsessed. At the things I have created. This little empire that I was building from the ground up. This legacy that I was gonna leave. Obsessed.
Enter the book of Ecclesiastes…
“Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had expended in doing it, and behold, all was vanity and a striving after, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun.” – Ecclesiastes 2:11
Kind of sounds like Ozymandias. Have you read it? If you have not read the poem, I highly suggest you do. An excerpt:
And on the pedestal these words appear:
‘My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!’
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away
But around him, nothing but sand. How humbling. I cringe when I think about how it applies in my life and how I have lived it.
You see, I am thankful constantly for God teaching me from the passage in Ecclesiastes. Because I need a constant reminder never to take my eyes off him, that I can still glorify him in the midst of “busy”, but that if I am not careful, my work can turn into an idol that I worship. There is a danger that happens, it happened to the Israelites in 1 Samuel, they did not consult God, but they took the ark with them. Close, but no cigar.
“But they soon forgot what he had done and did not wait for his plan to unfold.” – Psalm 106:13
God has blessed me with a servant heart. And I want to excel at that position. So where do I discern being good at my job versus taking joy in being a servant. The line becomes blurry at times. Especially when I do not seek wise counsel from God first.
The poem Ozymandias is cool, and sure, it gets me thinking. But at the heart of it, God gave me his Word, and it is during this time that I really need to seek it.
So fine, let me have this obsession. But, let me redirect it.
And I pray the same for you,
“For to the one who pleases him God has given wisdom and knowledge and joy, but to the sinner he has given the business of gathering and collecting, only to give to one who pleases God.” – Ecclesiastes 2:26