Simply Contemplate: Crazy Busy by Kevin DeYoung

wordy wednesday

Ok, so I’m on a Kevin DeYoung kick. Crazy Busy: A Mercifully Short Book on a Really Big Problem is another short 5-star offering from the Reformed Michigan pastor.

The Terror of Total Obligation: Calming the Crazy Man Inside

That is the chapter title and subheading from which I am about to quote.

We all have a cross to carry. But it’s a cross that kills our sins, smashes our idols, and teaches us the folly of self-reliance. It’s a cross that says I’ll do anything to follow Jesus, not a cross that says I have to do everything for Jesus.

“Cross to carry” is a phrase used to talk about suffering as a lot in life, but this portrayal of that cross, that suffering, as an active things in our life struck me. I have always pictured “cross to carry” as a passive sort of thing. But difficulty as a purposeful, active thing in our life, rather than a weight holding us down, is a much more biblical picture.

In the next paragraph, DeYoung writes:

I can take “redeem the time” (see Ephesians 5:16, KJV) as a summons to better time management when in reality it’s a call to be holy more than a call to possess the seven habits of highly effective people. I can turn every “is” into an “ought.” I can overlook the role that necessity and proximity play in establishing divine obligations. I can forget that my circle of influence will inevitably be smaller than my circle of concern.

I have definitely taken the “redeem the time” verse as a mantra for organization and time management (and read numerous books with that verse as proof text for the same). These quick little sentences were a slap in the face: “Duh! Hello! That is not the context or the point of the passage.” Sure, there is a case to be built for stewardship of time and resources, but out-of-context proof-texting isn’t the way to do so and does cause us to lose track of the primary point of it all: personal holiness.

If we are to imitate Christ and grow in Christ-likeness, then we should meditate on the example of His life:

Jesus did not do it all. Jesus didn’t meet every need. He left people waiting in line to be healed. He left one town to preach to another. He hid away to pray. He got tired. He never interacted with the vast majority of people on the planet. He spent thirty years in training and only three years in ministry. He did not try to do it all. And yet, he did everything God asked him to do.

DeYoung references a post of his in the footnotes that is relevant: Obligation, Stewardship, and the Poor and Elizabeth Foss also recently posted a relevant musing: The Mission of Motherhood & the Gray Areas.

What obligations are we burdening ourselves with (or are others trying to load us down with) that God is not asking us to do?

4 Responses

  1. Missy
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    “Anything to follow versus anything for Jesus” is quite the reminder. How often do I lead the charge “for Jesus” instead of just being faithful in the tasks he has already called me to. Remembering to be about doing everything that he asks versus everything that you “could” do is so difficult. Our women’s small group is reading his holiness book. This one might be next.

  2. Sarah
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    I always thought “redeeming the time” meant praying. I’m not sure why that’s always been my understanding of it, but I guess I thought that we redeem the time when we do whatever we’re doing for God’s glory. I think that’s a more freeing way of looking at it than from a time management stance, because even if I am “wasting” time by not doing anything other than sitting and waiting for my turn at the DMV (and I forgot my book! Dang!) then I can redeem those moments by turning my thoughts, even just momentariily, heavenward, commiting the next hour to His pleasure. Even if it feels like a waste or even poor time management, it is time redeemed if it is spent for His pleasure. And I need this because I pretty much always feel like it’s poor time management when I’m sitting somehwere waiting and have forgotten my book. :)

    The quote you shared that starts with “Jesus did not do it all” – Wow. I don’t actually think I’ve ever thought that through before. And yes.

    Wow.

  3. Cindy
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    This is excellent Mystie. Over the years I have almost taught myself to tune out any preacher or teacher who uses the verse about redeeming the time and the verse about God being a God of order. It seems like those broad verses are used to promote almost any personal opinion. I really, really like what De Young is saying here.

    I heard a Covenant Chapel sermon by Joe Novenson where he mentioned that he does much less than other people. That was so helpful to me. With 20 people directly in my sphere of influence I am quickly overwhelmed by outside commitments.

  4. jill farris
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    This looks like an awesome book! Thanks for the heads-up!

    Jill