Building Margin to Reduce Stress – Week 2, Day 3

“Whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” – Colossians 3:17

I . . . beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”     – Ephesians 4:1-3

Henri Nouwen wrote that “busyness has become a sign of importance. Having much to do, many places to go, countless people to meet gives us status and even fame. However, being busy can lead us away from our true vocation.” *

Observation: Folks too often “glory” in busy schedules. Unfortunately, folks in ministry are not immune. When clergy ask one another what they’ve been doing lately, the answer “taught 5 Bible studies last week, had 2 funerals, a wedding, 2 staff meetings, a trustee meeting and didn’t get home to my family until 9:30 pm every night” seems far more productive than “played ball with my child, read a good novel, had a great meal with some friends, or had some great quiet time with God on the beach”.

Do we ever think that God gives out productivity sheets for our lives? The more I do, the better God is going to like me?

Well . . . I think we’ve got it wrong. God’s acceptance is not based on the things we do. God’s love is based on the grace that He extends to us. We then serve BECAUSE we are accepted.

Prayer: Forgive me, Lord, when I think what I DO makes You love me more. Help me rest in the knowledge that You love me for me. Help me then serve You because I’m accepted by You. In Christ’s name, Amen.

Reflection Questions and/or Application for the Day:

Are you trying to have a good productivity sheet for God?

Think about the activities that you’re involved in. Why are you doing them? Do you ever feel that you are doing them to make God like you more? Do you ever feel that you are doing them to make others like you more?

Are you serving God or just busy? What is your purpose in serving God?


* Nouwen, Henri. The Only Necessary Thing: Living a Prayerful Life. New York: Crossroad Publishing Company, 1999.

Devotion from Building Margin for a Balanced Life, devotional book, small group study and sermon series

©Tim Reaves and Trish Archer

All rights reserved

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