Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Our Schedules Can Be An Idol

Ephesians 5:15-16 "Pay careful attention, then, to how you walk, not as unwise people but as wise, making the most of the time, because the days are evil."

Time is perhaps our most precious commodity. For a growing number of people time is actually more precious than money. Many of us fill our days running here and there trying to keep up with our overcrowded calendars. Sometimes I wonder if Americans have made an idol of being busy. We tend to think that the busier we are, the more important we are. We often equate activity with productivity. Too many people have come to believe that their level of activity equals their level of value. Christians are as guilty of this as our non-believing friends.

I think it is a mistake to equate our schedules with our self-importance, our productivity, or our value. Sometimes we are busy doing all the wrong things. Sometimes our activity actually accomplishes very little because we approach it in such a disorganized way. We should most definitely not equate our level of activity with our value as a person, because our value comes not from how busy we are, but in the fact that we are created in God’s image, and that Christ died for us to be reconciled to God.

This does not mean that we should throw out our calendars and become couch potatoes. What it means is that we should evaluate our schedules and determine if there are things we can cut out to make our lives less busy so we can focus on the things that matter most. It means we must evaluate how our schedules are impacting the things that matter most, such as our spiritual walk with God, our family health, and our overall personal happiness. At some point we must ask ourselves if the things that fill our schedules really have meaning to us or did we just sign up for them because everyone else did. Do those activities really add value to our lives or are they merely attempts to convince ourselves that we are important? We may not like all the answers we come up with when we ask ourselves these questions, but in the end, the result will be a less hectic life that is full of value, meaning and purpose.

For those of us who are Christians, we should determine that before we add one more thing to our schedules, we should take time to ask if that activity fits God’s plan for our lives. Will that activity draw us closer to Christ or push us farther away?

I recall a young family in one church I served as pastor. The wife was a Sunday School teacher. At the time the husband was not a believer though he did come to church fairly often. As their children got older, the children became involved in a variety of extra-curricular activities. The mother volunteered for a lot of extra activities at the school where the children attended. She also volunteered for leadership positions in two community groups. None of these various activities were bad. In fact, some were quite healthy and it was good for their family to be involved in them. But as they continued to add things to their calendar, their schedule got so full that the family’s church attendance went from almost every week to about once every 6-8 weeks. At the end of the Sunday School year the mother gave up her Sunday School class because she was just “too busy to do everything.” I vividly recall her husband’s comment after she resigned. He said, “I think she is giving up the wrong thing!” I found his comment quite insightful since he was not yet a believer at that point in his life. Clearly something needed to be eliminated from her calendar, but it should not have been her service to the Lord. That family eventually dropped out of church altogether and is no longer active in the life of any church. Overcrowded schedules pulled them away from their faith, and did little to enhance their family bonding. All it did was overstress them. Sadly, I see it happening more and more in the typical American Christian family.

We must decide what is important to us. Then we must allocate time, our most precious commodity, to reflect our values. If we fail to do this, we will find ourselves busier than ever but with little or nothing to show for it.

Lord, help us evaluate our schedules and make adjustments that are healthy for our spiritual walk and our family life. Amen.


Dr. Terry W. Dorsett serves at the Executive Director of the Baptist Convention ofNew England. He has been a pastor, church planter, denominational leader and author in New England for more than 20 years. He is a happy husband, a proud father and adoring grandfather. He is a cancer survivor and believes that God works powerfully through times of suffering. He writes extensively and you can find all of his books at:


  1. As a recovering type A, (for ten years now) this is a very insightful blog. This is also known as the law of diminishing returns; the more you do the less that is accomplished. It can not only afflict individuals but organizations as well. This includes churches. Yes, sometimes less is more.