This month’s Pastor’s Perspective is delivered by Dr. Peyton Hill, First Baptist Church of Prattville
Every. Single. Day. The calendar fills with meetings, events, and tasks. Every. Single. Day. The people around me are vying for my attention. The phone never stops. Ask anyone how they’re doing. “We’re fine, just busy.”
It seems that the more we do, the less content we are. For some strange reason, the more activity we build into our lives, the more angst we invite in with it. Is this the type of life Jesus wants us to live? Does he really desire that we run ourselves ragged because, well, YOLO (you only live once)?
I think we have missed the boat when it comes to understanding the message and example of Jesus. As the God-man, he came to earth on an urgent mission to seek and save the lost. He fervently obeyed the Scriptures, and yet even his obedience was only the first part of his mission. Ultimately, he was sent by his Father to die in the place of sinners. But even in the midst of all of his obedience and mission-critical tasks, Jesus was a man who knew how to unbusy himself.
Jesus spent 40 days and nights in the wilderness alone, not working on a work project or doing Pilates, but praying and fasting (Matthew 4:1–2). On the night before choosing his disciples, Jesus didn’t spend time running through their resumes one more time and calling their references, no, Jesus prayed (Luke 6:12). When Jesus had thousands of men, women, and children hanging on his every instruction, he didn’t build them a school to continue his lessons. Instead, Jesus pulled away to pray (Mark 6:46). His prayer life was so consistent that Jesus’s disciples did not just want to learn from his teaching and his ministry, but rather they interrupted his prayers because they hoped that he could teach them how to pray (Luke 11:1).
The most necessary, needed man who has ever lived knew that the busyness of the calendar and the meetings and the appointments would never cease, so what did he do? He got away for time alone to pray. The words in the Gospels concerning his prayer life that strike me as the most intriguing are found in Luke 5:15– 16, “The news about [Jesus] spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” When he was at the height of his popularity and his ministry was gaining steam, Jesus continued to practice his custom of solitude and prayer.
There are many necessary tasks, important events, and unique opportunities that arise daily. And though Jesus exists as a unique person (God in the flesh), his example should at least show us the importance of unplugging, unbusying ourselves and pressing into intimacy with the Father. Could it be that our calendars will always be full? Could it be that there will always be more tasks? So why not take the time to forget about time… why not put it on the calendar to forget about the calendar? Could it be that busyness breeds anxiety but solitude and prayer allow space for the anxiety to flee? Life with Jesus is much less about what we do for him and much more about enjoying him. The tyranny of the urgent distracts, but Jesus invites us close to him in the quiet… and that’s where the peace is found.
Peyton joined FBC Prattville in August 2019 as senior pastor. He is passionate about preaching Christ from the entire Bible and motivating believers for global missions. Peyton is married to Jordan Lee, and they have four children: Harper, Zane, Elliot and Wren. Visit www.fbcprattville.org for more information and service times.