Sunday School: Is Busyness the Same as Obedience?

    I recently finished an accelerated college program for ministry. The program was 18 months long, with only three breaks in that time. Each of my classes was only five weeks long–imagine getting nearly the same amount of information from a regular quarter or semester class, but condensed into five weeks! I’m pretty sure it’s a miracle that my brain didn’t explode.

    I knew God wanted me in that program. I’d prayed about it and God confirmed that it was what He wanted for me. But the program went so fast and I was busy all the time–too busy to spend time with God outside of my assignments for school. If I hadn’t been sure this was what God wanted for me, it would’ve been a really busy waste of my time.

    A pastor friend of mine, Brian, once told me his personal definition of laziness. “The Bible,” he said, “doesn’t define ‘laziness’ as we do. We often mistake activity for work, while according to Scripture, busy people are the laziest of all. I define laziness as doing everything except what the Lord has commanded and/or doing the work but not in the way the Lord has commanded.”

    This means that we can be busy doing Christian stuff, but still be lazy Christians. What? The Lord isn’t going to care if you had a perfect church attendance record if, while you were there, you spent the whole time on Facebook on your phone. The Lord won’t care if you volunteered in the children’s ministry twice a month if you did it without love in your heart while He was trying to push you into a ministry that serves the homeless.

    Sometimes we get really busy volunteering or doing things that we think are godly, but that God didn’t actually ask us to do. The result of being busy with the things God hasn’t asked you to do is something called burnout. Burnout is what people warn you about when you start a career in ministry. It means that you get so busy and overwhelmed doing “the work of God” that God didn’t give you that you get frustrated, angry and eventually just stop caring altogether. It happens gradually, but it can take years for people to recover from burnout.

    Being “busy for God” isn’t the same as being obedient to God. Remember what Jesus said in Matthew 11:29-30,

    Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.

    The Lord doesn’t want us to simply be busy. Busyness can be like noise. Have you ever seen a toddler play with pots and pans? They bang on them and crash them together to make lots of noise, but lots of noise doesn’t necessarily mean they’re making beautiful music; sometimes noise is just noise. Busyness is like that.

    We can spend most of our time doing things because they make us look good or because we aren’t sure what God wants us to do right at that moment, but just because we look and feel busy, doesn’t mean we’re being obedient to the Lord. Busyness can lead to feeling overwhelmed, but according to the verse from Matthew, obedience should never make us feel that way.

    Obedient Christians are always hard-working Christians, but busy Christians are not always obedient Christians. Sometimes the busiest Christians are also the laziest when it comes to true obedience.

    What do you think, girls? 

    Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28).

    For more Sunday School with your fellow PI girls, click here!

    More Stories Like This on Project Inspired:

    Sunday School: Are You Fasting for Lent?
    Sunday School: Feeling Fearful? God Makes Your Steps Firm!
    Sunday School: Is God Exposing the Motivations of Your Heart?

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    Jenn Arman
    Jenn Arman is a youth pastor, freelance writer and blogger. She was born in San Diego, California and raised 2 hours north east in the Inland Empire where she lives with her husband David and their cats. Jenn desires to bring glory to God and a healthy dose of reality to Christians through both writing and preaching. Visit for more on her work. You can also connect with her on and


    1. “The Lord doesn’t want us to simply be busy. Busyness can be like noise. Have you ever seen a toddler play with pots and pans? They bang on them and crash them together to make lots of noise, but lots of noise doesn’t necessarily mean they’re making beautiful music; sometimes noise is just noise. Busyness is like that.” <– I especially liked that analogy. Thanks for the encouragement!

    2. Oh man. I definitely needed to hear this! Thank you!

      Sometimes I feel like I’m not doing enough for God, but I’ve never actually went to Him in prayer to seek what it is He wants me to do. Sometimes I crave busyness, because when I don’t have anything to do I feel inadequate. Often God can call us to do the simplest things, and they all matter for the Kingdom. Right now He is calling me to draw closer to Him so I’m not going to focus on being a “Super Christian” and instead spend more time with Him and the Word.

    3. I never realized what the Bible said about lazyness has really nothing to do with actual lazyness, just about how your relationship with God is!

      I think I’m going to try to be like the ant, she prepared for the winter, I should preparing my life for when I get to heaven; continously talking to God and doing Bible studies and trying to live my life according to James 1:22. <3

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