Diligence vs. Hastiness

At times I can be a busy man. I lead our student ministry at Journey, our first impressions teams, media, marketing, some weekend experience stuff, and occasionally some other things that come along. I also lead an adult small group and a high school small group. I am also a husband and father of two (soon to be three) girls. Now, I like being busy. I actually would rather be too busy than not busy enough. I'm a doer. I like to get things done. I enjoy staying busy. I'm not one of these guys who thinks being busy makes them more important, I just enjoy having stuff to do. 

Now, there's nothing wrong with being busy, but sometimes it becomes an obsession for me to see how much I can cram into every day, and that's probably not a good thing. It's the difference between diligence and hastiness. If your busyness is a sign of your diligence, that's a good thing. But too often what happens is we try to cram in so many things we end up making hasty decisions for the sake of expedience. 

Proverbs 21:5 says, "The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty."

The other day, I had a busy day. I had multiple back-to-back meetings, and I was late for the first meeting which became a domino effect and made me increasingly late for each following meeting. Now, I started the day with my Jeep's tank on empty. For the sake of time I continued to push it. I actually prayed that God would not let me run out of gas but would help me get to each appointment. At the time, stopping for gas seemed unwise. I thought I needed those few precious minutes to make up for lost time. I actually went the entire day with my gas warning light on. I never stopped for gas. On my way home, I was going to stop at the gas station that is about a mile from my house. But by then I was running late for the meal that my wife had prepared. So I decided to pass by the gas station. I figured that I could simply get gas on the way to work this morning.

So this morning I left my house at 6:00 for a 6:20 appointment. I got down the road in our neighborhood when my engine died. I had to run back to the house to get the gas can that goes to my lawn mower. There was not much gas in it, but I thought it would be enough to get me to the gas station. I grabbed the can, ran back to my car, put in the little bit of gas, ran the can back to my house (I didn't want it to sit in my Jeep and stink it up all day), and headed to the gas station. By then I was running late, so I had to call my 6:20 appointment and let him know that I was not going to make it. While I was on the phone with him, my engine died again. Now I'm stranded between my house and the gas station, and I don't even have my gas can. So I called my wife (who is not a morning person), explained to her my situation and asked her to grab the gas can, come pick me up, and take me to get some gas. We argued about it because she didn't want to wake up our girls (3 years old & 2 years old). I finally decided she was right. So I walked to the gas station, bought a new gas can at an outlandish price, bought $3 in gas, walked back to my Jeep, put in the gas, drove back to the gas station, and filled up. By then I had missed my second appointment of the morning!

In an effort to save time, my hastiness on a previous day ended up costing much more today. It caused strife with my wife. It cost me money for an item I didn't need otherwise. It caused me to miss two appointments. There is a big difference between diligence and hastiness. I always want to be diligent to use wisely the small amount of time the Lord has granted me. But if I am not careful, busyness can result in hastiness which ends up actually wasting more time than idleness! 

I'm not usually a big fan of The Message, but occasionally it has a unique way of expressing the meaning of a passage of scripture. This is one of the times. The Message translates Proverbs 21:5 like this:

Careful planning puts you ahead in the long run; 
   hurry and scurry puts you further behind.

It certainly put me further behind today. For the sake of being good stewards of the time that God has given us, may we all be diligent and never hasty.