On the one hand generalisations are dangerous, on the other they are generally true! With that in mind what follows might not apply to you (because you’re obviously not normal – in a good way you understand) but it does apply to me and generally to most of our church. So here goes:
If together we were to make one commitment that would make us more effective in reaching others with the gospel and help us to really grow in godly character, what would it be?
Is there a book that we should read? A conference we should attend? A technique we should adopt?
Honestly all those things are helpful but if I was to pick just one thing it would be this: be less busy.
Why? Well because meaningful relationships and genuine character change take time, more time than you think, they grow slowly from a thousand small investments of moments here and there.
Friendships hang and fall on having time to chat on the street, chance to grab lunch or a drink, making a point of arriving early and leaving late. Think about it, in a world where almost everyone is busily running round, if it’s your Christian friend who you know has time for you it will be them you speak to when you’re puzzling over life or struggling. Corporately too if churches were known not as places of frantic activity but as communities with love and capacity for each other how much more attractive that would be to the world.
Character change and growth in godliness also involves making time. Time to sit and prayerfully read the scriptures to reflect on our hearts and to repent of our sin. Time to read the passage before a Sunday, time to come to church and not sleep because it’s no longer the first time we’ve sat down all week, time to pray with others to ask and be asked how we’re doing.
How can we do this? Is it possible to be less busy? Well here are two suggestions for how we might make this happen. Number 1, do less! Remember that the capacity to be everywhere, do everything and know everything is not ours and striving for it has a bad track record. Number 2 is to waste less time, get organised, get off Facebook, and invest the extra capacity for friendships and Christian growth.
It’s simple and obvious but hard for those of us wired for cramming our schedules to believe: patience is more effective than busyness.