• Our hope-filled future is bound up in sharing the story of Jesus, in discipling others, in bringing those disciples together into communities of believers, and in developing and releasing those believers to create other communities... till Jesus the King comes again!

Can’t Get Away From Going Slow

Today, I read the following quote from a blog I visit occasionally: “The urgency of slowing down – to find time and space to think – is nothing new, of course, and wiser souls have always reminded us that the more attention we pay to the moment, the less time and energy we have to place it in some larger context.  “Distraction is the only thing that consoles us for our miseries,” the French philosopher Blaise Pascal wrote in the 17th century, “and yet it is itself the greatest of our miseries.”  He also famously remarked that all of man’s problems come from his inability to sit quietly in a room alone.”

It seems I just can’t get away from this idea of ‘going slow’.  In the quote above, I am struck by how often ‘going slow’ is associated with an individual action or decision, and certainly in one sense it is.  We, as individuals, need to step back from the distractions that so easily amuse and satisfy us to take the time to more deeply reflect on the ultimate values we should be pursuing.

However, our individual driven lifestyle must also be addressed by connected relationships or community.  We suffer from “crowded loneliness”, as one writer put it.  We exist, we live, but unconnected, isolated from others and deep relationships.

We need others and they need us.  That’s why so much of the New Testament is about “one another-ing” each other.  Life in Christ is found and experienced in community.  Now we just need to ‘go slow’ to create that community and live out of it.



2 Responses

  1. Yes, we need time from all the pressures of life and ministry to pray and think. Even our Lord who was and is sinless man and very God needed rest and time alone with the Father. (Mark 6: 30 – 33&45, 46) I note also in Mark 6 that even when they tried to get away for a time from the pressure their efforts failed, but God’s grace is still sufficient. Nehemiah is a great illustration of how balancing rest, prayer, strategic thinking, strategic action, and “going slow” fits together under the leadership of a sovereign God. He took time for each in their place in his pressure filled life.

    We need group/team/community times for prayer and thinking as well as personal times alone for rest, prayer, and thinking. I find that since prayer and thinking can be hard work we need times of real relaxation. Yet prayer is the means to being freed from all anxiety so we can relax and find rest, shalom given by God’s grace. (Phil. 4: 6&7)

    All of us faced it but I really felt for our missionary medical doctors in Haiti. No matter where they they went in Haiti or how secret their plans were, by the second morning of their vacation there would be forty or fifty sick people lined up by dawn seeking a consultation. To refuse the request of the sick would appear as unloving. To avoid the 24/7 pressure they would have to leave the country –something that was financially impossible in the early days of the mission, yet I saw God giving special grace.

    Nevertheless, failing to find the necessary time and place for rest, prayer, and thinking takes its long-term tole in effectiveness of ministry is my observation.

    • The text has multiple appliations, if you will. You have highlighted a good number of them. I think that we tend to highlight the individual, personal retreat at this point and can easily miss the ‘rest’ that can come as we step away as a community and reflect on how each one is using their time and priorities. But both personal and community times are needed.

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