Daily Riches: Busyness and Laziness (Eugene Peterson and Thomas Merton) *

“Busyness is the enemy of spirituality. It is essentially laziness. It is doing the easy thing instead of the hard thing. It’s filling our time with our own actions instead of paying attention to God’s action. It’s taking charge. … The word busy is the symptom not of commitment but of betrayal. It is not devotion but defection. The adjective busy set as a modifier to pastor should sound to our ears like adulterous to characterize a wife, or embezzling to describe a banker. It is an outrageous scandal, a blasphemous affront. Hilary of Tours diagnosed our pastoral busyness as ‘irreligiosa solicitudo pro Deo,’ – ‘a blasphemous anxiety to do God’s work for him.’” Eugene Peterson

“Set me free from the laziness that goes about disguised as activity
when activity is not demanded of me.”
Thomas Merton

As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught. But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing.Luke 10:38-40a

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Do you ever fall into the trap of “activity when activity is not demanded” of you? What does this say about you?
  • Are you offended by the charge of laziness in your busyness? How often are you guilty of “doing the easy thing instead of the hard thing?” Can you give an example of when this happens to you?
  • Can you see how busyness might be the “enemy of spirituality” in your life?

Abba, remind me today
that it doesn’t really matter
what progress I make
or what I accomplish
or how I feel,
only that I love
as Jesus loved.
Only that.


For More: The Contemplative Pastor by Eugene Peterson


Thomas Merton’s goal is his writing is the same as mine in this blog: “The purpose of a book of meditations is to teach you how to think and not to do your thinking for you. Consequently if you pick up such a book and simply read it through, you are wasting your time. As soon as any thought stimulates your mind or your heart you can put the book down because your meditation has begun.” I’m not Thomas Merton (!), yet I hope these Daily Riches will lead you into much life-enriching meditation. – Bill (Psalm 90:14)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s