Have you noticed that when people greet each other saying ‘How are you?’ a frequent response is ‘I’m busy!’ In this book Tim Chester addresses the busyness that afflicts 21st century Christians, particularly those who live in the post industrialised world. In the opening chapter he identifies the symptoms of the disease, demonstrating with alarming accuracy the many attitudes and behaviours that are associated with being over-busy. I was particularly challenged by the thought that intentional or not stating ‘I am busy’ pushes people away, the decoded message being that ‘I am too important to spend time with you’. Ouch!
He goes on to show how the disease of busyness its roots in the systemic changes in the patterns of work and rest that have evolved from the pre industrial era, through the industrial age into the present post-industrialised world that exists in countries like the UK.
No book on busyness would quite be complete without some practical hints on time management, and this is no exception. Indeed many readers will recognise the tips given from other specialist guides on the subject. Where Tim Chester’s book differs, and in my view wins, is that he regards these tools as addressing the symptoms rather than treating the disease.
The second half of the book comprises 6 chapters, each addressing the attitudes of our hearts that incline us to embrace the tyranny of busyness. The crux of the argument is that busyness is not something imposed upon us by forces outside our control. Rather we are driven by desires within our own spirit that we subconsciously believe are satisfied by busyness. As a result we have a love hate relationship with being busy. We loath the stress and burn out that it causes yet crave the significance that it seductively seems to offer. The solution is to accept the rest that Jesus offers those who are weary and burdened. To allow him to satisfy those desires and cravings in our hearts in a way that busyness never will. The antidote to busyness is not doing less, or being more efficient, it is to place our trust completely in Christ.
This is one of those books that the people who most need to read it will claim that they can’t afford the time!