Every so often, we all need time to just think. Unfortunately, many don't like to do that, so they fill every waking moment with activity, noise, electronic chatter. It's almost as if we are afraid of our own souls, so we hide from them behind a maze of gadgets and busyness. The ancients' world was slower and quieter than ours, but they understood even then the necessity of withdrawing occasionally from the world lest it completely overwhelm us. The silence of the monasteries were like gaps in human life where God was free to enter on his own terms. Today we have those gaps sewed tightly shut, keeping not only God, but our own souls, out.
Evangelical Christians are among the worst offenders. We look at the world around us, see the need, and become overwhelmed with guilt over not having done more to rescue the lost. "How can we rest when the world for which Christ died is going to hell?" they ask, completely forgetting the fourth commandment to observe a Sabbath rest, and crazily believing that the world's salvation depends upon our activity rather than Christ's. Then we wonder why even Christians are medicated and sedated up to our eyeballs.
I wrote about this just a couple days ago, but feel the need to revisit the matter. Much of today was spent in the truck driving to Buffalo and back. Among other matters, I visited a friend in the hospital. He's been a hardworking man all his life, but right now, it's all he can do to lay in bed, read a little bit, and try to pray. When life is constricted in such a way, we are forced to ask ourselves what life is all about, and when we do that, we discover that all the plans and strategies we have don't really amount to much. Even when those plans and strategies are church oriented. I look back over more than forty years of ministry, and wonder how much of all the activity I pushed really accomplished. No, I'm not beating myself up, thinking my life was a waste, but I do believe there were times when I would have been better off backing off and leaving a little more in God's hands. And as I look to the future, I'm not quite convinced at the moment that looking for some big work to do for God is the right course. If God opens that door, I hope I recognize and walk through it, but until then, I think I'll take some of the time that has been given me to try to listen to Jesus and consider the lilies of the field.