Busy People

Executives are hard to see;
Their costly time I may not waste;
I make appointments nervously And talk to them in haste.
But at any time of night or day,
In places suitable or odd,
I seek and get without delay
An interview with God.

Executives are busy people. No doubt about that! Many are overworked and tense, But not only harried executives suffer from this condition. Many people are always in a rush. They would rather stand than sit for a quick cup of coffee as they must be on the run to the next meeting. Life is rushed through.

There seems to be no time left for intimate family life, reading, reflection, or just a chat with a friend. Hurry has become a way of life. But the work week has never been so short as in our time, Many work forty hours a week or slightly more, others less. Thanks to the rapid development of technology we have never had so much leisure time as now. Yet so many rush about as if they were chasing a dream in broad daylight. This extra free time, which could be a blessing, has turned into a problem.

A group of distinguished news commentators was asked, in an end-of-the-year roundup, what was the gravest crisis facing the American people in the year ahead. After responses ranging from cold-war tensions to the emerging African nations, it came Eric Sevareid’s turn to comment. In contrast to others, Sevareid cited as the most dangerous threat to American Society the rise of leisure and the fact that those who have the most leisure are the least equipped to make use of it.

Boredom has become more than a strange phenomenon on the horizon of modern man. As the workweek shortens and technology develops more and more time-saving devices, a large majority of the working force will have to consider what to do with the free time they obtain. So far, leisure time has not led to high level recreation, contemplation, and spiritual upbuilding.

Time is part of God’s magnificent work of creation. What are we going to do with the time we don’t have to spend at our jobs? Time must be used carefully. We are stewards of time. We must schedule our time in such a way that our leisure will not only be recreative but also purposeful.

When we consider that time should be dedicated to God, we will bring both work and leisure into their right perspectives. Church and God’s kingdom need workers. So much needs to be done and the time is short. Family life needs to be strengthened. How much time do parents spend talking with one another and their children? What a blessing it would be if television were to be turned off for most of the evening and families would spend time to deepen their relationships.

How many parents really know their children and vice versa? A change of pace may be most refreshing and helpful. Leisure time should give us more opportunity for prayer, meditation, spiritual upbuilding. Yet, meditation has become a lost “art,” a hobby left for the mystically inclined.

Compulsion-driven people should reflect if their way of living is right. Habits can become a stranglehold on the harried worker. Constant hurry may be a cover-up for a spiritual need. Many centuries ago, the writer of Ecclesiastes remarked: “For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven.” How true! There is a time to work and a time to relax. But all time must be used purposefully.

The Christian should ask himself. Am I using my time properly? Are my duties man-or God-imposed? “Our heavenly Father,” observes Charles Shedd, “never gives us too much to do. Men will we assign ourselves an overload, but never the Lord. He knows what He wants from each of us, and there is plenty of time in His day for things essential to His plan. We do Him a grave injustice when we fall into the habit of compulsive overwork. We sin when we pres· sure out His wishes for assignments that have not been altered through divine judgment. Self-centered scheduling that wants it our way, and ours alone, is far different from setting up n plan with the Inner Presence as our guide.” The question of leisure time can be solved only when we see ourselves as stewards of all God’s time.

Johan D. Tangelder is pastor of the Riverside Christian Reformed Church of Wellandport, Ontario, in Canada.