Like you, I am busy. In fact, over the past five years of living in Atlanta and serving at Redeemer, I feel like I have been racing from one thing to another, from one activity to another program, from one meeting to another planning session, from preparing one message to executing another ministry, from one pile of paperwork to another list of emails to return. It seems like there is always so much to do - right now. So many people to meet – right now. Some days, I feel like I’m busy being busy. When evening arrives, my head hits the pillow and I’m out cold… until my alarm goes off in the morning and I begin racing through my next day. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. (Okay, almost every minute of it.) Indeed, in the midst of ministry and family busyness, my time at Redeemer has been rich, full, good and meaningful. Yet the one thing that has sustained me more than anything has been when I have made time to regularly slow down and be quiet before the Lord - to receive renewal and refreshment through the reading of God’s Word. When I am reminded through regular reading of the Bible that life is so much more than “right here, right now”, I am encouraged and experience God’s peace in my busy life.
When my “transition time” began just a few weeks ago, I was expecting to quietly wind things down at Redeemer, anticipating that life would slow down a bit before beginning this new journey in Bloomington, Illinois. In fact, the opposite has occurred – my life has moved into warp speed and I’ve been racing faster than ever through my days. Over the past few weeks, I’ll admit that I’ve even let my daily Bible reading slip on more than one occasion, thinking to myself, “I’m just too busy today to pause for 20 minutes to read God’s Word”. On Tuesday afternoon, as I was driving down Ponce de Leon Avenue, racing from one activity to the next, I zoomed past several gas stations even though the fuel light on my dashboard had been blinking for the past 10 miles. I felt like I was simply too busy to stop and refill the gas tank. Besides, I had let the gas tank get this low in the past. When my car sputtered near the Fernbank Museum and I lost both my power steering and power brakes, I knew my journey was about to slow down. Fortunately, I was able to gently coast downhill, turn the corner and come to a complete stop in a residential area where I wasn’t blocking traffic. I was out of gas and I literally came to a standstill.
When Jesus walked on this earth, people from all over were enamored by his miracles and teachings. They were astounded by his healings and wisdom. They couldn’t get enough of his signs and wonders. So they followed him wherever he went -always wanting more. In John 6:25, we read that on one particular occasion, the people, in their endless pursuit, finally tracked Jesus down and asked him “Rabbi, when did you come here?” Jesus, knowing their hearts were low on fuel because they were so desperately fixated on the “right here, right now”, reminded the people to refocus on the bigger picture of life. “Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you.” In other words, don’t spend all of your time and energy on the “right here – right now”, rather remember to set your sights on what’s really important – namely a loving and eternal relationship with our Creator. As you speed through your busy day and week, I want to encourage you again to make time to refuel your spiritual tank through the reading of God’s Word and experience peace.