1 Kings 20:40
“And as thy servant was busy here and there, he was gone. And the king of Israel said unto him, So shall thy judgment be; thyself hast decided it.”
One of the greatest hindrances to accomplishment is found in the verse above where it says, “…thy servant was busy here and there…” This statement is found in a storyline by the prophet who condemned Ahab for letting a king go whom God appointed to die. However, the statement is a great lesson about the importance of work. The prophet knew that what he said was believable because a servant who is busy here and there is a servant who is not accomplishing what they are supposed to do. If the servant in the parable completed tasks instead of staying busy, he would not have lost the one he was supposed to guard.
One observation I have seen over the years is how people can stay busy all day and never accomplish anything. Years ago, I attended a pastor’s conference when a staff lady made a statement that changed my perception of work. She said, “Work is not staying busy, but work is finishing tasks.” She continued to say that if they don’t accomplish something every day that they were not working. Though what she said probably didn’t sit well with the pastors, she was absolutely correct with her statement. There are several lessons about work that can be gleaned from the statement above.
First, staying busy is not working. Just because you are moving does not mean that you are working. Many people are busy throughout the day, but most people don’t accomplish anything. You can stay busy by daydreaming, looking at what needs to get done, or even working on a few things that you must do, but just because you are busy does not mean that you are working. Staying busy here and there has never accomplished one great thing for God. You accomplish great things for God by working.
Second, it is better to accomplish than it is to stay busy here and there. Work is completing tasks, not staying busy here and there. At the end of each day, you should be able to say what you have accomplished. You are not working if you don’t finish something every day. God gives you twenty-four hours in a day, and it is a sin not to finish something in those twenty-four hours. Sadly, many people are busy in the day but don’t accomplish anything, but those who rise to the top are those who are not satisfied with busy, but with finishing tasks. It doesn’t matter how many hours you stayed busy in the day; what matters is what have you completed each day.
Third, you cannot accomplish anything if you don’t know what you are to accomplish. You need a list of things each day that you need to get done because you will never finish anything without a list of tasks. The easiest way to accomplish tasks so that you can say you worked each day is to start at the top of the list and work it through the day. It would be better to have a list of what needs to get done each day than it is to schedule time for tasks to be done. I am not against scheduling, but if you don’t finish something in the allotted time you gave a task, you are just filling that time slot staying busy here and there.
Let me ask you, are you a busy person, or are you a working person? If you are a working person, you will be able to say what tasks you have accomplished each day. You will be more productive in life by acquiring the mindset to finish tasks daily than you ever will by staying busy here and there.