Craig Groeschel - When You're Too Busy for What Matters
Well, in order to introduce the message today, what I wanna do is I wanna tell you a true story of something that happened recently at a gym with my best friend and my bride, Amy. Now you have to understand that I always love being with Amy. Anything we're doing together is something I love, but being in a gym, it just takes it to a whole 'nother level of spiritually intimate. So we were at a hotel. We had a little bit of time before an event, and she was looking what I would just say was like appropriately pastor-wife cute. You know what I'm saying? Like not too extra, but like extra enough to like, that's a godly woman there and she look good. And I was doing arms because men generally care about arms, and she was doing legs and treadmill because for whatever reason she usually cares about legs and treadmill. And she was on the treadmill, and I had kind of a pump going.
And so when you say you're flexing, I was actually flexing when I walked up to her kind of like in this moment like there's a lot of people here in the gym. I want them all to know that I'm with her. So I just kind of walked up while she was on the treadmill, and she's walking along and they have, you know she's treadmilling and it had the little rail things. And so I just went up the side and just kind of did this and leaned up against the treadmill and said, what's a cute thing like you doing in a place like this? And she laughed and she giggled. And as I was leaning up against her treadmill, I had no idea that my elbow was leaning up against the thing that controls the speed of the treadmill. Well, this was a nice treadmill. And so it didn't pick up speed rapidly, but ever so slowly. And as I was kind of flirting with my wife, she started to walk a little bit faster. It was so gradual I didn't even really notice it until her eyes started to look slightly confused and slightly afraid.
Within moments it wasn't just a fast walk, but it's turned into a slow jog and moments later she looked at me terrified in a full blown sprint, grabbing the sides, lifting her legs to save her life. And she looked at me and said, what are you trying to kill me or something? I started laughing and she wasn't laughing at all. The whole time I had no idea that I was leaning against the lever that gradually increased her pace. We laugh about that now, and I think it's a good illustration of what often happens in our own lives. Little by little, barely noticeable at first, we do a little bit more, and a little bit more, and a little bit more and a little bit more. And we get a little bit more efficient and we get a little bit more aggressive and we take on a job and another job and some student loan debt and a car payment, and a girlfriend who becomes a wife who gives us a baby who has diapers, then another baby, more diapers and preschool. And mother's day out and soccer and dance and ballet and braces and more kids and second job and debt.
And all of a sudden we wake up one day and we feel overwhelmed. And I wonder how many of you in your own way would say, I always feel a little bit rushed or anxious or overwhelmed that all that I have to do and there's not enough hours in the day. And so if you're like me we try to squeeze a little bit more. I try to become a little bit more efficient. I will analyze the lines at a grocery store or analyze the potential capacity and speed of a car as I pull up to a light, trying to get behind the right one. I'm so busy, I'll multitask in the bathroom. Anybody know what I'm talking about? Doing business while I'm doing business. Is this too real?
I'm just gonna talk to the real people today. And it's not just being rushed, but I wonder how many of you would also say occasionally or maybe even often you're disappointed at the way your life's going. And because of the pace and because of the intensity, sometimes you start to think is there something that's missing? I have no time to do the things that I want to do, no time to do the things that I love or worse yet, I don't really even have time for the people that I love. And you might start to ask yourself, is life really supposed to be this way? What if I told you that the greatest enemy to the life you want, may be the life that you're living. Let me say it again. What if I told you that the greatest enemy to the life that you want may be the life that you're living? The title for today's message is When You're Too Busy for What Matters.
Father we pray that by the power of your spirit and the truth of your word that you would speak to us in a way, God, that will lead us not just to the truth of Jesus but also empower us to live the way that Jesus lived and love the way that Jesus loved. We pray in Jesus' name. And all God's people said. Amen. Amen, amen.
Confession. The message that I'm gonna try to preach to you today is one of the most difficult messages for me to preach because it is completely opposite of the way that I live. In fact you don't have to be around me for long to understand that I despise slow. I mean, I really do. Like, I hate it. It offends me. It, I, I, my staff will tell you, like, I understand coffee, standing. I, I, it, it makes me crazy, it really does. I know some of you like that stuff but I don't understand it. Ugh, okay. I may have been the guy who said like the devil doesn't take a day off so neither do I. I'll slow down when I get to heaven. I may have said some things like that and meant it.
And I'm guessing and I'm hoping that most of you, or at least many of you are not as dysfunctional as I am, but I'm guessing that a lot of you are busier than you know that you should be. Because we got places to be all of us, jobs to do, bills to pay, kitchens to clean, kids to raise, news to read, biased news to read so you get really mad, yards to mow, dinner to cook, clothes to buy, clothes to wash, clothes to wash, clothes to wash, clothes to not wear, clothes to buy more clothes because you don't wear the clothes you've got. Photos to take, captions to right, soul numbing Netflix series to bing out on. And just because the pace of life is what it is you find yourself going faster and faster and faster and faster until you're sprinting. And you realize I don't have time for some things I wish I had time for. We don't really have time for a meals with our family. And we don't really have time for deep conversation with our friends. And we don't have time to rest or reflect or read or really enjoy intimacy with our heavenly father. We just don't have time.
But the good news is neither does anybody else. So it must be okay right? Everybody else is busy so that must be God's will right? What if I told you that the greatest enemy to the life that you want may be the life currently living. And that's why we're in a message series called the better way, a better way. We're not just looking at the truth of Jesus, which we always do and always will, but we're also examining the way that Jesus lived and the way that Jesus loved, the way that Jesus lived. In fact, when you look at the gospels and take a step back, it's pretty fascinating to think about the way that Jesus lived. He had three years of ministry and that was it, three years of kind of public ministry. And in those three years, he embraced the father's mission. He recruited a heavenly team of 12 rag tags, trained them in kingdom values. He endured the hatred of the Pharisees. He resisted the temptation of the devil. He healed all sorts of sick people. He loved all sorts of hurting people. He preached the word of God fearlessly. He fulfilled 351 old Testament prophecies. And Jesus never once ran.
When you read the gospels, there is no record of him ever running, jogging, fast walking, skipping, sprinting. Jesus was busy, but he was never rushed. He never said to his disciples, shoot boys we're behind schedule. Come on, huh, let's go, pick it up, let's go. Thomas is late and leave him behind, we're gonna teach him a lesson. They need us in Capernaum and we got to get there right now. He was busy with important stuff. But he was never rushed on the inside. He never once ran. In fact, I'm gonna show you a phrase from Mark's gospel, Mark chapter two, verse 14. And this is a phrase you can see over and over again in other gospels. And the phrase is this. Mark said this about Jesus. He said as Jesus, say it aloud with me, said as Jesus did what, as Jesus walked along, as Jesus over and over again, as Jesus walked along, as Jesus walked along, he saw Levi, the son of Alphaeus sitting at a tax collector's booth. And Jesus said to him, follow me. And Levi got up and he followed Jesus.
I was thinking about Levi and it was fascinating to me. If Jesus was unrushed and Levi followed Jesus, he walked with Jesus. Then Levi should have been living an unrushed life. And then I thought about us. And I thought if we follow an unrushed Jesus, we should be living an unrushed life. But the way I live is very different from the way that Jesus lived. So if you find yourself kind of like Amy on the treadmill and the pace has picked up beyond what you expected and you're often rushed or stressed or overwhelmed or exhausted trying to get it all done, always falling short, Jesus invites you to come. He invites you to come to him. If you're worn out, if you're overwhelmed, if you're burdened and he will give you something that many of you have not experienced in a long time, he will give you a heavenly rest.
We looked last week at a text, I wanna revisit it again. We looked last week at Matthew 11, from the new international version. I wanna read it to you today from a version known as the message. To be clear this is not a word for word translation. It's more of a devotional translation from a guy named Eugene Peterson and he translates it loosely this way He asked the question, quoting loosely the words of Jesus are you tired, worn out, burned out on religion? Jesus says, come to me, get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest Then Jesus says this. He says walk with me, not run, but walk with me and work with me, do it at my pace. Watch how I do it. Learn, I love this phrase. Let me learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Jesus says keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly. Jesus says get away with me and you'll recover your life. Walk with me, watch how I walk. Watch how I love, watch how I live and walk with me. Don't just believe what Jesus believed, do that, but also live the way Jesus lived.
And I want you to just think about the way that he lived. He only lived for 33 years and he was called to be perfect and save the world. His mission was to give his life. And he waited 30 Years before he initiated a public ministry. It's fascinating to think about what Jesus did. He was baptized by God the father, heaven opens up and the holy spirit descends upon him in the form of a dove. And the father says this is my son whom I love, with him I'm well pleased. God affirms him even before he publicly does any miracles. And so Jesus is commissioned to change the world. He's ready to go out and do what he was created to do. And what's the first thing he does? He takes a sabbatical. That's what he does. The spirit leads them out into a dry place for 40 days. He calls out on the father. He draws close to God, is strengthened by God, fights off the enemy. And his identity is solidified in who he's called to be. He takes 40 days to go be with God.
Think about his first miracle. Where was it? It's interesting to me it was at a wedding. Jesus went to a wedding and he didn't like big time 'em, like I'm the SOG, I'm the son of God, gotta bounce okay. He didn't do that. He stayed till the very end. And then when they ran out of the party juice, he turned water into wine and he said let's just keep this thing going longer. Let's just enjoy each other. One time a synagogue leader came up to him. His name was Jarius or some call him Jairus an important guy. And he's wigging out, freaking out, my little girl's dying, my baby girl's dying. You gotta, you gotta come save her. And Jesus is like huh, I'll get there. And Jesus starts walking to go see this sick little girl. And as he's walking along, another woman stops him, interrupts him and is crying. She's been sick for 12 years. And as another little girl is dying, he gives this woman his undivided attention and heals her. And while he's taking his sweet loving time, the first girl dies and the dad's beside himself. And Jesus says time's in my hands. And he heals her anyway.
I mean, it's crazy. You look at it all the way down to his transportation choice. He's a son of God. If he's coming down on an animal, he can choose whatever one he wants. I'm Jesus, I'm on a horse. A white one, fast one. He comes riding in on a donkey, a walking animal. Ain't no donkey in a rush. You're never seeing Eeyore run a red light, I promise you okay. As he walked. If Jesus wasn't rushed and we're called to follow Jesus. If Jesus wasn't rushed in his soul, why do you think we are? Why are we? I'm just a preacher, not a counselor.
So I can't really say, but here's my guess based on a lot of pastoral ministry. My guess is if we really simplified it, most of us are rushed over work pressure and pushing it because we're either running from something or running to something. Most of us. Me, if I analyze it, I'm probably running from insignificance and I'm running toward acceptance. I don't know what yours would be. You might be running from a past failure. You might be running from something said, someone said about you. You might be running from an insecurity that you're gonna overcome and prove them wrong. You're running from a hurt. You're running from abuse or you're running to something. You got the goal, you've got the vision. I'm gonna get married. Oh, he's gonna be so fine. He's gonna love Jesus. We're gonna get matching cross tattoos. We're gonna name our kids Elijah and Mary 'cause they're in the Bible. You know, it's gonna, you know, we're gonna have a dog and name him, whatever. You're, you're, you're running towards success. You're running toward the image. You're running toward popularity. You're running toward fame. You're running toward being liked. You want, you wannabe, whatever it is you're accepted.
The problem is for most people in today's culture is you're chasing a life that will still leave you empty once you find it. What if the greatest enemy to the life that you want is actually the way that you're living right now? Always rushed, always pushing it. Some of you say you don't understand preacher boy, you know, I got a full-time job. You're just a pastor. You just work on Sundays. You're not gonna, I got a full-time job or whatever. I don't, I don't time. I literally can't get it all done. I can't slow down. There's too much moving. And I wanna say very respectfully to you that you have time for what you choose to have time for. You do. You have time. You have time for what you choose to have time for. And if I can get up in your business just a little bit, the solution is not more time. The solution is more of what matters most, is more of what matters most.
And the reason why most of us don't have time for what matters is because we're mindlessly spending our life on what doesn't matter. And I'm gonna prove it to you. I could take any number of different illustrations, but I've chosen three that are incredibly common. I'll show you a up on our screen. First of all, social media, how many of you are involved in some form of social media? Raise up your hands, okay. A second one would be television. The third one would be video games. Let's start with social media. Did you know that the average person on social media, how much time do they think they spend a year? The average person in a year spend 706 hours per year. The good news is a lot of you are younger. You're above average baby. You're way up there. You're way up there.
Now how much time is that? To really understand I like to do comparisons. And a traditional work day is usually about eight hours correct? 706 hours on social media if you divided that into just normal work days, that is approximately four and a half months of working hours that people spend on social media. You have time for what you choose to have time for. Television is a little worse. Over 2,700 hours binge watching the latest version of whatever your popular show is. Now, before we go to video games, I'm gonna pick on the guys, gentlemen, if you're a gentlemen, would you raise your hand? Even if you're not. If you're a male, raise your hand. Perfect, you don't have to be a gentleman.
Okay. Now I'm gonna pick on you. But I do want you to know I'm guilty as charged. I grew up in kind of the more classic era of video games, Donkey Kong, Frogger, Pac-Man, Gallaga stuff. You'll know what that is. You don't need to know what it is. You wouldn't like it. And I could probably have paid for your college education and mine one quarter at a time. So that's, so I'm guilty. The average guy by the age of 21 spends about 10,000 hours. 10,000 hours by the age of 21. That shouldn't say per year, by the time you're 21 they spend about 10,000 hours on computer games. What can you do with 10,000 hours? I'll give you some options. One thing you can do at $10 an hour, you can make a hundred grand. That's one thing. Another thing you can do is if you're an average reader, you can read about 2,000 books. Another thing you can do with 10,000 hours, you could probably become a concert pianist. You can get your pilot's license. You can memorize the New Testament. You can get your undergraduate and graduate degree.
Let's take it to relationships. You could possibly save your struggling marriage if you devoted that much energy to the person that you may be walking away from. You could possibly reconcile a relationship with a family member that's gone bad. And you could perhaps have the most intimate relationship with your children that you ever imagined. If you'd put away whatever the stupid thing that you're doing and invested in them, you could have something that really matters or, or you can mindlessly waste your life on stuff that doesn't. What if the greatest enemy to the life that you want is the life that you're living? So what do I do now Pastor Craig? And the answer is I don't know, I'm struggling too. I don't know. I'm like working on this too. I'm like the guy who says by my hair, I used to be bald too. I'm the owner of the hair club, whatever it is, I'm a fellow struggler. What do I do? I don't know. What I'm not gonna do is I'm not gonna give you a lot to do, but what I am gonna do is tell you this, that if you don't slow down, God may make you slow down. And that's what he did for me.
I told you last week that I had a kind of a surprise surgery that put me on my bottom for a extended period of time. And I had to face my ongoing addiction to work and adrenaline and call it what it is. And I've said that before and I've gone on before and now I'm getting serious about it. I went to the basics, who is God? And the answer at its core, the best answer is God is love. It's not just what he does, but it's who he is. What is the greatest command? Jesus said to love the Lord your God, with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength, and to do what else? And to love your neighbor as yourself. At the core of all that God calls us is to love, to be loved by him, to love him and to love people on behalf of his love. The challenge is and John Mark Comer writes about this in his book. Love is incompatible with hurry. And I'm always in a hurry. Love, the Bible says Paul's first definition is love is patient. Love takes time. Hurry doesn't have time.
So what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna share with you a prayer that I've been praying, just one prayer. And I'm gonna invite you and challenge you, and maybe dare you. Maybe double dog dare you to pray this prayer. Just first thing in the day, whatever that kind of looks like for you. You can even have your cup of coffee and pray it with your cup of coffee. And I'm gonna challenge you to do it for seven days, everyday, just pray this, mean it, sit in it and then see what God does as you ask him to do this. And the prayer is very simple, the prayer is this. God help me walk slowly enough to experience Jesus fully and love people deeply. God help me to walk slowly enough to experience Jesus fully and love people deeply. Would you mind just, just kind of saying that quietly, wherever you're watching this today, say God help me walk slowly enough to experience Jesus fully and to love people deeply.
One more time, just, just say it, just say it out loud. God help me walk slowly enough to experience Jesus fully and to love people deeply. What's gonna happen if you pray that prayer? The answer is I don't know for sure, but I will tell you what God's been doing in me. And it's a deep work. It's a real work and it's a healing work. The first thing that God has been doing in me is he's been teaching me to be present in the moment. I'm starting to recognize that I'm often there physically, but not there mentally and as I'm praying this prayer, I'm engaging with my children and leaving my phone to the side. I am listening to people when oftentimes my mind would be spinning away. I am, I'm seeing needs in the lives of people that I often was too busy to see. And I'm actually entering into the joy of hurting with people. And there's a sense of fulfillment in celebrating with those who celebrate and grieving with those who grieve. There's something rich about that. It's helping me to be present in the moment.
Second thing is it's helping me to choose what's important and to eliminate what's not. As I'm asking God to lead my steps and to help me to walk slowly, suddenly I'm just more aware that picking up my phone to look at something is not nearly as important as a person who's in front of me. It's helping me say no to what doesn't matter and yes to what does. And there's a lot of things that I end up drifting toward that really don't matter much. And here's what you might find. And let me just say this clearly, you may say no to some good things right now to say yes to some better things. But just because you say no right now doesn't mean you have to say no forever. It may be no for now, but not for you. You may like love, I don't know, hot yoga or gardening or playing on the softball team or whatever but you've got three babies in diapers. And so you may have a no for now, but it's not a no forever. It's just in this season there's something more important. You have time for what you choose to have time for.
The solution is not more time. The solution is more of what matters. This prayer is helping me to be present in the moment, to choose what's most important, to eliminate what's not. And most importantly to me is it's helping me to sense God's presence and recognize his voice. It's helping me to see him working in places that I was too busy to notice. He's prompting me to ask an additional question when I'm with somebody, not ending the conversation, but digging just a little bit deeper. He's prompting me to pray more with people and not the like, I'm your pastor so can I pray? But I'm the, I'm your friend can I pray? He's taken me to a different level. And here's what I've noticed as I'm walking slower with Jesus and he's helping me love him and experience him and love people. I'm noticing that I'm starting to become just a little bit more like him. Because think about this if you will, as Jesus walked along, as Jesus walked along, every person that Jesus loved and every miracle that Jesus performed, he did as he walked, as he walked along God used him. And so my invitation is for you to join me, join Amy, seven days, pray and see what happens every day.
God help me to walk slowly enough to experience Jesus fully and to love people deeply. And here's what's so interesting as Jesus walked, all of his ministry, all of his life, following the will of the father, where was Jesus walking? Jesus was always walking toward the cross. Day after day, step after step, moment after moment, he was fulfilling God's calling for him and expressing the deepest and most profound love for you. He was walking toward the cross. And so when we know Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, we don't just embrace the truth that he taught, but we also live and love the way that Jesus lived and the way that he loved. And as I learn to walk with Jesus, I'm becoming more like Jesus. And imagine if in an angry and hurting and divided world, if there was a loving, caring, and united church walking slowly enough to engage with those who are far from God. To show the love of a God who stepped out of heaven and came to earth in the person of his perfect and sinless son, Jesus, who day after day, walked toward the cross to give his life for you.
If you're following Jesus, guess where you're walking. You're walking to lay down your life for something so much more important. The answer is not more time. It's more of what matters. You have time for what you choose to have time for.
So God help me walk slowly enough to experience Jesus fully and to love people deeply. And Father, we ask that you would do that work in the hearts of your church.
As you continue praying today online or at all of our churches, those of you who would say, yeah I'm overwhelmed. I'm stressed, I don't have the most time. I'm just gonna invite you to come to Jesus and invite you just to pray that prayer with me this week. If you would just commit our pastors will actually give you this prayer and tell you specifically how to get it and keep it with you and to pray this prayer. If you'll commit just to do that seven days, let's just see what God does. God just help us to slow down, to walk with you slowly enough to love you fully, to love people deeply. If you'll pray that with me over the next week, would you lift up your hands right now? Just lift up your hands. If you're watching online you can type it in the chat I'm in. I'll be praying, whatever it is, just type it in the chat and let us know as well. I'll be praying as well.
Father I thank you in advance for all the different ways we're going to see you. And for all the different ways we will enjoy what matters most as you lead our steps. As you direct us. God help us to walk with you, to be willing to be interrupted by you, to see needs and people and feel joy that we might have the opportunity and honor of helping me to need. And God even being blessed that we're a blessing to others. We thank you God, there might be healing. There might be, there might be re-prioritizing. God we pray that your truth would sink deep within our hearts, that we have time to do what you've called us to do. God help us to choose what matters most. Help us to love you, to love your people, as we're loved by you.
As you keep praying today, nobody looking around, let me ask you again. What if the greatest enemy to the life that you want is the life that you're living? There are some of you right now if I can just talk to a few different groups of people, some of you like you're not, you're not a religious person, you're not really a church person. And you've been trying everything haven't you? Maybe this relationship will make me happy. Maybe that relationship, maybe this job, maybe that job, maybe this much money, that much money, this house, that house, these countertops, those countertops, this car, that car, these shoes, those shoes, this city, that city, this thrill, this experience. And you continue to come up empty. Why? Maybe it's because you're trying to fill a God shaped void with something that is not God. Maybe it's because you're a spiritual being created by God to know his goodness and nothing in this world will satisfy but Jesus. Maybe you're like a church person like I was growing up and you're trying to find meaning in religion and you're trying to do good works and you still come up short. Maybe it's because you're trying to find meaning in the things you do instead of the God who created you.
And all of our churches a day or wherever you're watching if you recognize there is something missing, you're longing for something more, maybe it's that your sin has separated you from a relationship with God. And when you step into the fullness of what God has for you, Jesus is the way, he is the way to the father. He is the truth and the truth that sets you free and the way and the truth leads you to the life that God wants you to have. It is a life more abundantly. It is a gift from God. If you don't have it and you want it, I would encourage you to step away from your sin. Step toward God. When you call on the name of Jesus, he hears your prayers, he forgives your sins. He makes you brand new.
You're here today. You're watching today because this is your moment. This is your time. You need something different. There's a better way, there's a better way. His name is Jesus, he is the son of God. When you call out to him, he hears your prayers. Your past is forgiven and you become new today. Wherever you are you say, I want it. I need his forgiveness, I want his grace. Today I surrender my life, I give it to Jesus. That's your prayer. Lift your hands high right now. All over the place say yes, lift them up. We see hands going up all over the place right here. Praise God for you, right over here as well. Wow, wow, wow, wow, church online. YouTube, just type in the chat I'm giving my life to Jesus. And as we have people today all over the world surrendering to the Lordship of Christ will you pray with those around you, nobody prays alone. Pray:
Heavenly Father. Forgive all of my sins. Jesus save me. Be first in my life. Fill me with your spirit so I could know you and serve you, and follow you for the rest of my life. Lead me in your ways to love like you love, and live like you live. In Jesus' name I pray.
Can somebody celebrate, welcome those born into the family of God. Come on somebody.