Music and the Spoken Word

What Are We Busy About? Sunday, January 3, 2016

“It is not enough to be [busy],” wrote Henry David Thoreau. “So are the ants.” The question is, “What are you [busy] about?”1 We live in a world that frequently confuses busyness with importance. Thoreau’s words are a good reminder just because something “takes some doing,” that doesn’t mean it’s worth doing.

The start of a new year is a good time to reflect for a moment on what we’re doing. Some of us may find that we are caught in the thick of thin things, spending our time chasing goals that aren’t really all that important in the long run. Others of us might be engaged in so many worthwhile causes that we are unable to truly give our best to any of them.

Time is such a precious commodity, and it can be tempting to approach all of our daily allotment of 24 hours at full speed, trying to squeeze out every ounce of productivity. But sometimes the best use of our day is to slow down, listen to a loved one who needs us, and enjoy some of life’s lighter moments.

For one hard worker, vacations and holidays seemed such a waste of valuable, productive time. He rarely took time off, constantly climbing the corporate ladder, without really pondering what he would find at the top of that ladder. He prided himself on his busyness; he was always productive, always going and doing, and people around him soon got the impression that he was too busy for them. And then the time came, as it does for everyone, when his time ran out. All he could think of were his regrets and missed opportunities. It’s not that his life was bad or all his efforts wrong; it’s just that he could have balanced his priorities better and focused more intentionally on things of lasting value. Perhaps we all could.

Life is a balancing act, and priorities change throughout life. But regardless of our stage of life, it’s never too early or too late to ask ourselves, What are we busy about?

-Lloyd D. Newell

1. The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, ed. F. B. Sanborn, vol. 6, Familiar Letters (1906), 317.

Jan. 3, 2016
Broadcast Number 4,503

Mormon Tabernacle Choir
Orchestra at Temple Square

Mack Wilberg
Ryan Murphy

Clay Christiansen

Lloyd Newell

Ralph Vaughan Williams

There Is Sunshine in My Soul Today
John R. Sweney; arr. Mack Wilberg

A Trumpet Minuet
Alfred Hollins

How Lovely Is Thy Dwelling Place, from A German Requiem
Johannes Brahms

Oh, What a Beautiful Morning, from Oklahoma
Richard Rodgers; arr. Arthur Harris

Standing on the Promises
Russell K. Carter; arr. Ryan Murphy