Slow Down!

We live in a fast paced society.

  • We eat fast food as we drive down the road
  • We get in the express lane at the grocery store, upset if the person in front of us has more than fifteen items but fudging a little if we do, too
  • We drive in the HOV whether or not we are “high occupancy”
  • We drive too fast on the interstate
  • We speed through commercials, eat quickly, look at the news in bullet points, and want “just the highlights”

Alan Fadling is a minister who a book a few years ago entitled The Unhurried Life. In it he makes a confession on the very first page: “I’m a recovering speed addict — and I don’t mean the drug … In fact, there is little incentive out there to slow down. And the pace in the church doesn’t seem all that different from the pace in the world around us.”

Fadling then goes on to talk about a disease that is affecting a lot of us: the disease of hurry sickness. Hurry sickness is the need to be constantly busy, to rush from one thing to another, or to “swim in the shallows” of life. And often the shallows is where we hang out. We have shallow relationships, shallow feelings, shallow worship, shallow sermons, shallow lives… All because we refuse to slow down.

It is like we live in a world full of white rabbits: “I’m late, I’m late, for a very important date! No time to say ‘Hello,’ Goodbye! I’m late, I’m late, I’m late! No, no, no, no, I’m overdue! I’m simply in a stew! No time to say ‘Hello,’ Goodbye! I’m late, I’m late, I’m late!”

So we flit from here to there and everywhere. We fritter away our time and we become more and more frustrated. We are always in a hurry, and as we rush along it might just be that life is passing us by.

So, what is the solution? How do we learn to slow down?

That is what our current sermon series is all about: learning to shabbat. This is the Hebrew verb that becomes “sabbath,” a time of rest and reflection. Over the next few weeks we will be looking at what it means to REST and to SLOW.

And this is incredibly difficult for me. It is easy to write but difficult to do. I am a husband, a father, a friend, a minister/preacher, a doctoral student, and a runner. I stay incredibly busy running everywhere: mentally, physically, spiritually. But God is calling me to shabbat… and I don’t know how much I like it!

I have too much to do!, I think. I have to read, write, reflect, preach, work out, run to this appointment, get these things ready, publish this article, put together this power point, counsel this family, be involved in this activity… My life is too busy to slow down!

But, as I preached on Sunday, who am I to say I am too busy to slow down? God created the entire universe… and then took a day off. Not because he was tired, not because he had worn himself out, not because he was stretched too thin or had burned the candle at both ends. No! According to Exodus 31:20 it was “to be refreshed.” Literally, “to take a breath.” God had a breather! He was restored to Spirit and life. And then the rhythm continued anew.

This Sunday we will continue looking at the idea of REST. Come learn what it means to rest and release your burdens to God.