The Barrenness of a Busy Life


What does a world-class leader with a world-altering mission do to stay productive?

Fred Mitchell was a leader in world missions. Tapped by God with a life and death task he understood that every moment was precious, that every day was an opportunity to "get after it." He also grasped the inherent danger in living and working in constant Go Mode. To keep perspective, Fred kept this motto on his desk:[1]

"Beware of the Barrenness of a Busy Life" 

Busyness is often a sign of being productive, but it can also be dangerously seductive. Living in Go Mode we can mistake activity for accomplishment and a harried look for a holy life.

To make matters more challenging, when life's treadmill is set to "fast," going slow seems strange--even wrong. In reality, pausing for rest, reflection, and restoration is essential.

One way to avoid the barrenness of a busy life is to go slow before we go fast.

David Nicholas, one of my mentors, taught me an important truth for life and leadership: Apart from Christ, I can do nothing. With him, I can do everything.

"I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing." John 15:5 ESV
I can do all things through him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13 ESV

I am a leader. It is my job to move stuff forward. It's time to kick it into gear. Yes, all of that is true. But I must first pause. I must draw my strength and wisdom from Christ. I must lean on him and I must continue to lean on him.

Today you going to put the pedal to the metal. Make sure you go slow before you go fast.


[1] Gordon MacDonald, Ordering Your Private World, page 17.