“If you want something done, ask a busy person.” This familiar saying is attributed to Ben Franklin, who was himself a very busy man. He was a printer (newspapers, books), author (Poor Richard’s Almanac, etc.), postmaster (first U.S. Postmaster General), politician (Governor of Pennsylvania), philosopher (first President of the American Philosophical Society), scientist (physics, oceanography, meteorology, population studies), inventor (lightning rod, bifocals, Franklin stove), freemason, violinist, musical composer, chess expert, educator (a founder of the University of Pennsylvania), diplomat (Ambassador to France). Along the way, he found time to have a common-law wife, at least one mistress, three children and seven grandchildren. When the Colonies called for a Constitutional Convention to consider what the new Nation should look like, one of the first persons invited was this busy man, Ben Franklin.
Last week, I was a busy man. Vacation Bible School dominated everything around ABC, including my schedule. I knew it would be hard to come up with a Messenger article in time for Jill to put the weekly edition together Tuesday, as is our regular pattern. I “asked” this busy man (me) to try a little harder, and I actually had the article ready Monday, a day earlier than usual.
This week, I’m relaxed. I had the entire church to myself all day Monday. Tuesday morning (yesterday), I attended our usual staff meeting with Connie and Glenn, then I hung out on my computer, catching up with email and fooling around with Facebook. I did some errands in the afternoon, helped granddaughter Tianna study for a test and watched the Dodgers on TV. I went through the whole of Tuesday as a not-busy man, and I never once thought of my commitment to write a Messenger article.
At 3:30 this morning I woke up with a start, suddenly aware that I had not met my Messenger deadline. What’s more, I didn’t even have an idea for an article, not as much as a glimmer. Ironically, it was when I was busy (sleeping) that I had finally remembered. I couldn’t go back to sleep; my mind was flying over a sea of possible topics. Finally, I thought, “Why not write about this experience, failing to meet my commitment and trying to do damage control?” I even came up with a Scripture passage to support this. After that, I slept soundly the rest of the night. Of course, in the morning I couldn’t remember what the Scripture passage was.
Well, here I am, sharing my frustration with myself and hoping at least some readers will identify with my struggle and gain insight and encouragement from my ramblings.
I did think of another portion of Scripture that should guide all of us in our various life tasks, whether we are super-busy or not. Paul encouraged the Colossian believers to cultivate this mindset:
“Whatever you do in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (3:17)
He went so far as to challenge slaves, who are busy doing the work of others:
“Whatever your task, put yourselves into it, as done for your Lord and not for your masters, since you know that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward; you serve the Lord Christ.” (3:25)
My mother put it this way: “Anything worth doing is worth doing right.”
— Pastor George Van Alstine