There is a quote I ran across a couple of years ago that still sticks in my brain.
"There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all"
At times in my life there has never been a truer statement. Works I immersed myself into that were not worthwhile. Projects I broke my neck to do that had no real payoff. Tasks I was assigned and dedicated to that were pointless. The jobs that are nothing more than the “busy work” of life. I look back at the time and energy and effort I put into them and wonder what was I thinking.
But that is the point, I wasn’t. When you get busy on the task, your mind has a way of drowning out the why question for the buzz of activity. You think only about how you are going to do it, and the what comes next, rather than if it needs to be done in the first place.
It is similar to the effect known as Inattentional blindness. Inattentional blindness is the failure to notice an unexpected stimulus that is in one's field of vision when other attention-demanding tasksare being performed. Magicians have used this for years to pull tricks off. Have them count cards while you slip out the gimmick. Give them something to hold while you pick their pocket. You don’t see the move because you’re so concentrated on getting something done. It is a method that Satan has used on us for years.
If he can’t cause you to be unfaithful, he will at least make you unproductive. He will create busy work that keeps you from truly important things. An inventor invented a machine that had lights, bells, whistles, pulleys, gears and you would press a button and it would start running round and round and round. Somebody asked, “What does that thing do?” He said, “I don’t know, but doesn’t it run beautifully?” That sounds a lot of our congregations. They are running beautifully but without purpose. We are doing it well, but should we be doing it at all?
1st Thessalonians 5:21 tells us “But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good”. We need to examine all our works to see is this is really doing any good. Time and energy are limited resources. We need to make sure they are not being wasted.