Gene Jennings

Gene Jennings

It’s a standard answer. We do it all of the time. When someone asks us, “How’s it going?” we often reply, “Busy.” I read once that in some Asian countries this is the expected answer. In fact, it’s humiliating if you can’t say that you’re busy. If you’re not busy, then what are you doing? You should be productive. You need to always be at a task that will serve yourself, your family and your community. A person who is not busy is not making a positive contribution to society. At least, that is the mindset.

We like to look busy even if we’re not. For many of us, activity equals value.

This is true in our spiritual lives. Christ followers like to concentrate on activity and service in an attempt to grow closer to God. However, this can often thwart our attainment of this goal rather than achieve it. We are often guilty of becoming preoccupied with our activity to the point that we forget the point of the activity!

There are those who are seeking out one great inspirational speaker after another, hoping that a great orator can help them find the secret. We seek out meetings and conferences looking for formulas for blessing and fresh experiences. We read the latest authors in a search for “Aha!” moments that will turn our spiritual lives upside down. We attend concerts of the trendiest artists seeking a mountain top encounter with God.

This busy, active search for blessing can often leave a Christ follower self-centered and occupied with himself and his experiences. It can even lead to mental anguish, confusion and frustration as we strive to grow close to God.

All the while, the one who alone can satisfy our heart is by our side. He is longing to be known and loved.

It has been said that there is a God-shaped hole in every man’s heart. It is also true that there is a man-shaped hole in God’s heart. God knows us and loves us. He pursues us relentlessly. Sometimes the best thing we can do to grow closer to God is to stop working at it so hard and just bask in his presence. Busyness and activity will never satisfy. Yielding to the presence of Christ will allow the striving and frustration to be a thing of the past.

“What does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him” (Deuteronomy 10:12).

Gene Jennings is the Associate Pastor at TrueNorth Church.