I substituted for our men's ministry pastor in teaching a men's Sunday School class a couple of Sundays ago and the topic was "Authenticity." Before I knew it, I was making a confession to the group of men of how I keep from being authentic or transparent to other men. I just talk about how busy I am. I take such pride in it, it is like I am wearing some kind of badge of honor!
This reminded me of a line from the classic 1948 movie, "The Treasure Of Sierra Madre," when "Gold Hat," played by Alfonso Bedoya says, "Badges? We ain't got no badges. We don't need no badges. I don't have to show you no stinking badges." You know, we men almost seem to expect each other to be wearing a badge, a "stinking badge of busyness." Old Gold Hat, though not a very good guy in the movie, was right about at least one thing. When it comes to impressing others in how busy we are, "we don't need no badges."
Since that Sunday School class I have caught myself on several occasions beginning to do this in a conversation with someone else. I have even done it with my own wife and kids. What is that about? I think it is a way to say to others, "I am IMPORTANT so don't you ask anything of me, and also I am permitted to be UNAVAILABLE to listen, to be present, to care about your concerns." I can so easily stick on this "badge of busynesss," and by so doing, rob those I love the most of my listening presence.
But how does that reflect the heart of the heavenly Father to my children? If there is anyone in the universe who is busy, it has to be God! He sure has His hands full! If I, the "seen father," model being too busy to actively listen to my children and do not tune into their hearts, how will they come to see the "Unseen Father" as anything but unavailable to hear their prayers. So I need to consciously, proactively choose to slow down, take off my silly badge and make myself available to listen to my wife and my children. And besides, if I don't, they may well find an inappropriate someone else who will.