The difference between “busyness” and “hurry”

redeeming your time Oct 25, 2021

Jesus entered Jerusalem and went into the temple courts. He looked around at everything, but since it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the Twelve….[The next day, upon] reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple courts and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. (Mark 11:11,15)

The life of Jesus and his disciples was busy (see Mark 3:20-21 and John 11:5-9). But as my friend John Mark Comer has pointed out, “[Jesus] never came off hurried.” Pastor Kevin DeYoung put it this way: “[Jesus] was busy, but never in a way that made him frantic, anxious, irritable, proud, envious, or distracted by lesser things.” 

So, what’s the difference between busyness and hurry? 

Busyness is having a lot of meetings on your calendar. Hurry is scheduling those meetings back-to-back forcing you to sprint from one to the next without enough time to think. 

Busyness is having a lot of errands to run. Hurry is getting mad about choosing the “wrong line” at the grocery store because you have no margin for the thirty seconds you lost by choosing lane 3 instead of 4. 

Busyness is attending three Bible studies a week. Hurry is not having enough time and stillness to listen to God’s voice in between those studies.

How can we be busy without being hurried? We must get good at “counting the cost” of our time.

Jesus provides an excellent case study of this in today’s passage. Mark 11:15 tells us that Jesus’s plan all along was to overturn some tables and drive out the vendors who were turning the temple into a “den of robbers” (Mark 11:17). So why not do this the night before? Why wait?

Of course, we can’t answer those questions definitively, but given Jesus’s track record as a busy but unhurried guy, here’s my guess: I think Jesus had counted the cost of his time. 

Look at Mark 11:11: Jesus “went into the temple courts…looked around at everything, but since it was already late” decided not to cram any more activity into what had already been a busy day. You can almost hear him muttering to himself “It can wait.” 

Could Jesus have squeezed in a little table-flipping before he retired for the night? Sure, but he chose not to. He had counted the cost and knew that adding anything else to his already busy day would have tipped the scales from busy to hurry.

Jesus’s example brings us to the seventh and final principle we need to redeem our time: 

Principle #7
To redeem our time in the model of our Redeemer, we must embrace productive busyness while ruthlessly eliminating hurry from our lives.

How can we eliminate hurry today? In my book, Redeeming Your TimeI share three practical answers to that question, including six questions to ask to help you say “no” more frequently. Want a glimpse at those six questions? Watch this video.


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