In our readings for Sunday, we find the contrast of busyness vs inactivity. In the reading from Job 7:4, 6-7, we see Job complaining that he has had it with life because, in a sense, he is bored. He says, “I am filled with restlessness until the dawn.” This is understandable when we know his background. Job possessed vast land and herds and was the father of seven children. All of it was wiped away. He now suffers great loss and goes from busyness to inactivity.
In contrast, we find Paul in the second reading and Jesus in the gospel filling their days with activity. In 1 Corinthians 9:16-19, 22-23, Paul tells the crowds that, “I do all that I do for the sake of the gospel in the hope of having a share in its blessings.” Paul is a preacher and he knows his words have power to make the good news known. He has to do this. In fact, he says, “I am under compulsion and have no choice. I am ruined if I do not preach.”
In the reading from Mark 1:29-39, Jesus is busy healing people, beginning with Peter’s mother-in-law. In the evening, people who were ill and possessed of demons came to him seeking healing. Healing was a constant in the ministry of Jesus. However, Jesus knew he needed time for himself for prayer and renewal. “Rising early the next morning, he went off to a lonely place in the desert; there he was absorbed in prayer.”
Job did not choose his inactivity. Paul seems driven to preach the gospel. Jesus was committed to his mission, but also knew that he needed time for prayer to be successful at what he did publicly, and to be in union with God.
For many of us who lived through 2020, we somewhat experience Job’s predicament. We were and still are separated from those we love. We spend days at home instead of socializing, working away from places of business, limiting physical contact and avoiding crowds. This is not a choice we made, but out of necessity, took ownership for self-health and that of others.
One of the positives that has come from the pandemic is that many of us now have time to be reflective, to have time for prayer, to seek quiet time for ourselves. Hopefully, we don’t complain about this extra time, but instead, see it as a gift, an opportunity for self-growth. Now is the time for prayer and reflection. Now is the time to go deeper into your hobbies, to paint, sew, play a musical instrument, read. Quiet time can be one of the most important things we can do for ourselves. Use it well.
In what ways do you allow excessive activity to rule your life?
How can you use time for quiet to help you grow spiritually?