Why Busyness Is Not Usually Godly…

Fil Anderson has written a fascinating book called Running On Empty. It tackles the dangers of busyness in ministry. He writes…

My life—like the Learjet on autopilot—had become a ghostly journey as I maintained a deadly course with an incapacitated soul. My ability to see clearly had become nil, outside efforts to get me to change course were refused, and my last bit of fuel was being depleted. I was obsessed with helping others have the kind of relationship with God that I had never known. I wasn’t able to name my longings or express my yearnings. My life was filled with doing things for God rather than pursuing intimacy with God. I had perfected busyness but failed miserably at stillness. I worked constantly, averaging seventy to eighty hours per week, but I didn’t have a clue who my Boss was. Although I knew facts and ideas about Jesus, I didn’t know what it meant to be his friend. I had confidence in my ability to do the work of God, but I was clueless when it came to letting God work in me. I could talk easily with others about Jesus, but I knew nothing about how to sit still long enough for Jesus to talk with me. I was comfortable around others who knew God, but the thought of being alone with God was enough to keep me occupied with the demands of ministry. The idea of sitting alone in a room with God made me nervous.
I was in over my head, but I would rather die than admit that, so I learned a simple lesson that seemed to provide the direction I needed: Just stay busy. In the church, as long as you appear busy, people rarely question your knowledge or effectiveness. They assume wherever there is a cloud of dust, meaningful activity must be just ahead of it. So I started kicking up perpetual clouds of dust..
As I kept busy, I also learned that ceaseless activity earned me tremendous praise. Desperate for recognition and approval, I worked even harder. But by the end of my first year I was suffering from fatigue and constantly feeling overwhelmed and inadequate. But I kept at it, and by the end of my second year I got a promotion. I was named the pastor of a fledgling church. At age twenty-one I was unable to distinguish between my activity and my identity—and so my activity determined my identity.
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