Summary: Being quiet and still drives us nuts! But we are told in Scripture to seek God in the stillness -- not in the noise and busy-ness of life.
If there is one thing that drives us almost insane,
If there is one thing that we cannot stand,
If there is one thing that makes us uncomfortable it’s...
(The sermon begins with the pastor standing in the pulpit, and simply standing for a full minute, doing nothing but waiting, seeming to be about to speak but then refraining, sipping on a glass of water, and looking at his watch. Until finally, he speaks...)
We live in a culture that does not know what to do with being silent or still.
In the Old Testament book of Habakkuk (2:20), we are told, “The LORD is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him."
But silence drives us nuts.
In Psalm 37:7, we are told, “Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him.”
But we can’t be still.
In Psalm 46:10, we are told, "Be still, and know that I am God."
In our culture we don’t like to be still.
We don’t like to be quiet.
We don’t like to be silent.
It drives us nuts!
Maybe it is the fault of our parents. It’s their fault. If your parents were like my parents, they were constantly telling you to “be quiet, be still and behave.”
And as adults, we have rebelled against our parents. We don’t like to be quiet. We don’t like to be still. So we live a life that is busy, and active and restless.
We have this feeling that if we are not doing something, saying something, planning something, then we are not being productive and if we are not being productive, then we are wasting our time.
Cindy Pfieffer, our church’s Office Manager, always tries to select a special image to go on the bulletin cover. This week she had difficulty finding something that would go with the theme of the sermon and the service, and finally picked out an image of an hour glass.
I told her this image would make some people uncomfortable, because some of us would start shaking our bulletins trying to make the sand move more quickly through that hourglass.
By the way, I do promise to finish the sermon before the sand runs out on this hourglass.
Most of us feel like we need to be active every minute of the day.
A generation or two ago, the life of the family was going to be revolutionized by the automatic washing machine. Up until then, cleaning the family’s laundry literally took an entire day. People referred to one day of their weekly routine as wash day.
Then technology came through with the washing machine, and you could throw the clothing into a machine, and then leave it and go do something else. What a time saver.
So what happened? Did we get more time to relax? To be still? To be quiet? No, we filled our time with other duties.
The computer was the same way. It enables us to do more our work in a lot less time. But do we get off work early? No. We simply do more work.
There is something within us that compels us to fill up every moment of our time.
Even if we are not talking about work, our families are stretched to the limit with activities as we go from ballet classes to soccer to outings at the lake to concerts to this and to that.
It is as if we are afraid of what might happen if we would just be still for a moment. If we would just be ---- quiet.
And if you think this is a modern problem, think again. Look at Martha and Mary. Jesus comes to their home. Mary is content to be still and silent, and to be with the Lord. Martha can’t do that. She has to be busy. In the words of the New Testament lesson, she becomes "distracted and upset at many things."
And so it is with us.
Jesus is in the midst of our life.
But we become distracted and upset at many things.
Our world is so busy, our lives are so full.
And we like it that way.
We like it because a busy life makes us feel important.
How many of you want to be important?
We all do.
We want to be important. We want to be valuable. We want to be worth something to others.
One of the things that attracts us to the Gospel is the Good News that God loves us. We are important to God. The God who made and maintains the entire universe believes we are important enough to pay attention to and to love and to care for. We are important enough to God that he sent his Son Jesus Christ to die for us and for our salvation.