Slowing down the pace of life

Walking too fastWhile on vacation recently, I decided to go to the pool behind the cluster of villas where we were staying.

The tranquil pool was surrounded by beautiful trees draped with spanish moss.

The path to the pool was a set of square concrete steps sitting atop the ground.  The square steps were only about 3-4 inches apart and since my step was about 2-3 feet long, I found my bare feet regularly landing between the concrete steps onto their sharp corners.

It was an frustrating and painful exercise to walk to this lovely pool.

Yet on the 3rd day I found out what the problem was.

I was walking too fast.

I discovered that if I slowed down my pace, my feet would land (magically!) at the center of each concrete pad.

Why was I walking so fast on my way to the pool?  I was on vacation!

Was the pool going to disappear?

Was the water going to drain out before I got there?

I have found that many of us live life like this.  We race here and there, as though we were chasing the wind.  Sometimes I am too busy to stop to help someone with a flat tire, to help an older person load their car at Lowes or to stop and open a door for a large family.

I think Jesus’ encounter with two sisters, Mary and Martha, gets to the heart of this issue.

Luke 10:38 starts…

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made.

She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

I’m not suggesting we all quit our jobs and recline at the pool all day.  We must work and steward the talents and gifts God has given us. But, underneath all our plans, all our efforts, focus, our goals and activities we desperately need to abide with Him.  To slow down our mind and sense His calm, peaceful presence.

The wisest person to ever live, King Solomon, put it this way in Ecclesiastes 4: 4-6: “And I saw that all toil and all achievement spring from one person’s envy of another. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind. Fools fold their hands and ruin themselves. Better one handful with tranquillity than two handfuls with toil and chasing after the wind.”

The Hebrew word for “chasing” means “longing or striving”.

So, what do we long for?

What are we striving for?

Position, power, prestige, money, reputation, ambition, accomplishment?

Jesus said “few things are needed or indeed only one”….and the one is Him – Jesus Christ.

God simply wants us to come to Him as Mary did to Jesus.  To slow down, pause, seek Him, to focus on Him even in the midst of a busy life….to find rest, purpose, joy and delight in Him alone.

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