If we take a quick glance at the lifestyles of Christians in America today, they are hardly distinguishable from those who don’t know God. We are a church of Marthas, fussing about in our own respective kitchens. But Jesus invites us to clear away the clutter and find time and space to sit at his feet along with Mary (Luke 10:38-42).
Herein lies the key difference between spiritual garbage and spiritual clutter. Sin is widely recognized as a spiritual problem needing to be confronted and addressed. Excessive ‘busyness’, on the other hand, is rarely viewed as a spiritual weakness. In fact, busyness is often admired as a sign of strength, health and importance. How often do we look at another person and remark, “Wow, they are so active and involved!” We applaud the overly stressed, and admire the over-committed. We rarely recognize spiritual clutter as a hostile force impeding spiritual transformation and reducing the forward movement of God’s kingdom on earth. In fact, many (dare I say most?) leaders in the church actually suffer from the debilitating effects of chronic excessive busyness to some degree. I know I fall into this trap. The very place where God’s peace is meant to freely flow to tired and weary souls is itself feeding the problem, generating it’s own type of spiritual clutter and stress. What are we to do?
Jesus said, “Come to me all who are weary and weak, and I will give you rest” (Matt 11:28). The church—Christ’s body here on earth—needs to clean house before it can begin to resemble his clutter-free lifestyle. In the Gospels we often find Jesus clearing a path through his own busyness, setting aside time alone with God. “Jesus himself frequently withdrew to a quiet place to pray” (Luke 5:16). One such night the disciples hunted Jesus down and said, “Everybody’s looking for you.” Rather than buckling under the pressure and bending toward their needs, Jesus kept his focus on the kingdom task at hand, saying, “Let’s go to the rest of the villages so I can preach there also. This is why I’ve come” (Mark 1:35-38).
Jesus was single-mindedly committed to the task at hand. He prioritized his time and simplified his life in order to faithfully fulfill his kingdom mission. Are we willing to follow in his footsteps, even if it means ridding ourselves of some of the distractions—even worthwhile and well-loved distractions?
NEXT: “Rummage Sale of the Soul”