We have all had that experience while driving down the street or taking a walk and someone drives by in a car or motorcycle and you say, “They are going to get themselves killed.” Within the last couple of years, that happened within a few miles of my home.
We were coming back from an out-of-town adventure and were rerouted close to home, because of an accident. As we got closer, you could see a body on the road and a bike, a good distance away. I knew that was trouble. I later found out the young man didn’t make it. I later noticed on a social media page for our neighborhood that shortly before that accident, several people commented that a young man on a motorcycle had passed through and was going way too fast.
It was the same man.
We have all been concerned and even become incensed most likely, seeing a person driving recklessly and much too fast. I’m convinced one of the deadliest diseases (if you will) today is our lack of rest. We have a need for speed. I go so far as to say many of us are addicted to a non-stop pace.
Do we think this ends better than the person behind a wheel going tens and tens of miles above the speed limit? I had the blessing of a summer sabbatical recently, and I was asked how long it took me to slow down and get in a good rhythm. I responded, actually the first week. I remember taking a walk at an airport, close to our vacation home, and I could sense peace, rest and God’s presence.
How fleeting that can be for so many. I hear a lot of people talking these days, as I take in a variety of content, of what is beautiful, good, true, redemptive and the like. I’m positive for those things to be seen, tasted and experienced, we must slow down. It won’t happen another way. Author/pastor John Mark Comer says two things keep us from following Jesus, once we say Yes, I want to follow Him.
I’m going to address only the first one. It means everything. He says, we can’t slow down enough to follow Jesus. Think of a time in the gospels, when Jesus was rushed and in a hurry. … Think about it. … Keep thinking. You aren’t going to find it. If anything, the word “Linger” seems to fit Jesus very well.
Speaker/author Carey Nieuwhof once said that the best stuff in his interviews for his podcast comes when he lingers and doesn’t move on and stays put. Some extra just comes out. I’d say it’s often the good and the gold.
Just before I started this call on my life to CONNECT MEN TO MEN AND MEN TO GOD 14 years ago, a good friend and community leader encouraged me to schedule fewer meetings each day (from my previous ministry) and have more margin from meeting to meeting. I could follow up from the last one and get ready for the next one. He also said that when people might need me in the moment when we cross paths at a coffee shop, business, the like, I would have the time and space to give them.
That has been some of the best advice I’ve ever been given. I try to limit myself to four meetings per day. I keep to that, 80+ percent of the time.
Why am I certain that rest and healthy rhythms are the way to go?
- You can’t do it all, and neither can I. As Pete Scazzero says, “we need to embrace our God-given limits.” They truly are a gift.
- Many of us have FOMO (fear of missing out). Guess what? You’ll miss out. I’m amazed when I leave for vacation, all the great things that seem to be happening within a 50-mile radius. If you live a full and abundant life, as Jesus desires for us, we’ll miss some things. We have to be OK with that and I believe it’s one of the best things we can pass on to our kids.
- As Comer says, people who are constantly racing and grinding away, will miss Jesus. They seemingly don’t know how to stop. If Jesus wasn’t in a hurry (while walking among us) isn’t in a hurry (with His good work in us today), why should we be. If He lingered, we should linger.
- Humility grows in us significantly when we rest. We realize the world goes on. People’s lives move on. It’s not about us (assuredly me). We get to receive and understand even more so how much we need to receive from our Good Heavenly Father.
- Rest is the only way for us to see it’s about being, not about doing. As we know to be true, we are human beings, not human doings. Are we remembered more at funerals for who we were or what we did? What we did has its place. God wants us to bear fruit and is never against good works, unless we try to earn our salvation. Who we are and the good work, God is doing in us, is ultimately how we’ll be remembered.
- It’s popular, especially in church culture today, to hear about our crazy pace doing destruction to our soul. Can we even argue that point? I don’t think so. Burnout is real. Trying to impress happens all the time and all over the place. Our souls are vital to who we are and they are significant. Satan would love to wreck our souls.
No different than the pace of the mad man on the streets, going dangerously over the speed limit, how we slow our hearts and the rhythms therein make all the difference in a life that leads to abundant living or one that ends in terrible tragedy.