By Mike McVey
Trinity Baptist Church, Gunnison, CO
Spread too thin?
Busier than you need to be?
“Busyness” might well be the greatest distraction impacting post-modern ministry and ministers–aka pastors. We have bought into the concept that busyness makes us more important and productive. Unfortunately, busyness often means we’re too busy for God, ignoring His design for building margin into our lives.
REST is a foreign word to most ministry leaders. Peter Horne suggests that, “Sabbath-rest clashes with our culture’s emphases on consumption, efficiency, productivity and time management. He goes on to say, “if our Christian journey is a process of being transformed into the image of God, then we must transform our schedules to enable the pursuit of refreshment and renewal in a theology of rest.”
Pastors imagine this, God using a choir director, to enlighten us on what a theology of rest looks like. It’s simple, yet profound: “Be still and know that I am God,” Psalm 46:10. We frequently quote it and seldom live it. The words be still are an imperative; one which we often choose not to engage. Perhaps this musician understood what a “pause” in life is all about. It is as if he is saying, amid a busy schedule, that we need to take a “pause” to get to “know” our Creator a little more intimately.
The words “be still” (Heb. raphah) means “to let drop, to abandon, relax, refrain, forsake, to let go, and to be quiet,” (www.blb.org). The NASB translates it “cease striving.” Choose the phrase that works best for you, but ask, why is it so vital that we discover how to be still? It is the means to growing deeper in our relationship with our Father. Rest is a time to delight in God, to enjoy Him and to relax.
Blaise Pascal, noted 17th century philosopher, wrote “All unhappiness of men arises from one single fact, that they cannot stay quietly in their own room.” The consequences of such he continues, are “that the pleasure of solitude is a thing incomprehensible.”
Pascal’s words aptly describe the noise and busyness of the 21st century. We are not wired to embrace silence and solitude yet these disciplines are essential to being transformed into the image of God. It is during these times that we can withdraw from the demands of life and the noise of our own thoughts.
We need these times to give God our undivided attention. Henri Nouwen writes concerning solitude, “Without solitude it is virtually impossible to live a spiritual life. . .. We do not take the spiritual life seriously if we do not set aside some time to be with God and listen to Him.” Nouwen continues, “solitude is the furnace of transformation. . .. [It] is the place of the great struggle and the great encounter—the struggle against the compulsions of the false self, and the encounter with the loving God who offers himself as the substance of the new self.”
What will you “drop,” “abandon,” or “let go of” this week to encounter stillness with God in an effort to engage the imperative of Psalm 46:10? STOP romanticizing busyness.
Heavenly Father, as I take time to pause and to rest, help me amid all my busyness to focus on what’s really important and to not get caught up in “romanticizing busyness.” Help me to put you first, because that is where I will be rejuvenated, replenished and reconnected and renewed. In Jesus name, Amen.