Summary: Based on Ephesians 4:11-15 we must learn to slow down so we can grow up. This message not only shows the need for slowing down, but gives three practical suggestions for accomplishing that goal.
Slow Down & Grow Up!
CHCC – August 24, 2014
For the last 3 Sundays we’ve been in a series called Crazy Busy where we’re talking about how important it is to AVOID the common trap of getting our lives too full to too many things until we actually ARE Crazy Busy. It’s kind of ironic to be preaching on this topic on Faith in Action Sunday, because after church today we WANT to all to get crazy busy helping with our carnival at West Avenue Elementary School.
Of course, the point is not that we should never be busy. There are times to pour out all the energy we have for work that needs to be done, especially in service to God! The point is that we need to build times of rest into the rhythm of our lives. Times of business need to be balanced with times of rest.
This isn’t a side issue in God’s Word. The 4th out of the Ten Commandments says to strictly observe a Sabbath day of rest every week, and refers back to Genesis 2: 2 By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. 3 Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.
Rest is an essential part of the Christian life. Jesus set the example when, during his 3 years of ministry that would be crazy busy to most people, he regularly took time away to rest and commune with the Father. Today we’re going answer the question: WHY is rest essential to the Christian life? The answer to that question can be found in one word: MATURITY.
Look at how often the idea of maturity comes up in this description of the goal of the church: "So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ." Ephesians 4:11-15
We might think, If maturity is the goal of the church, then the sooner we get there the better! Right? Wrong! Listen to some advice from these Christian leaders:
Brother Lawrence, author of "Practice the Presence of God", wrote “You don’t become a saint in a day.” (p.67)
Alan Fadling, in "An Unhurried Life", wrote, “Growth in goodness is not fast. It is not a sprint followed by additional sprints. Growth in goodness – in Christlikeness - is a steady, day by day, footstep after footstep journey. To our overstimulated hearts and minds, that path may sound boring.” (p.144)
The problem many of us have with maturing is that we try to make things happen in our lives without much reflection. Have you noticed how often you make a resolution to improve some behavior in our life … and then two weeks later you notice you’re right back where you started? The truth is that maturity takes time. It requires the determination to start over … again and again. It requires unhurried perseverance. Fruitfulness comes no other way.
Thomas Kelly, Quaker author of "A testament of Devotion", wrote these insightful words, “Spiritual maturity comes after the awkward age of religious busyness for the kingdom of God, yet how many are caught and arrested in development within the adolescent development of the soul’s growth.”
You see, Christian maturity is not about doing more for God, but letting God do more in and through us. Look at it this way: Immaturity is often characterized as busyness that is full of noise (usually the sound of your own voice) and frantic activity, often without any lasting result. Maturity, on the other hand, is quiet, with purposeful activity at a reasonable pace.
It might look like what Susan tells me is the difference between walking down the hall between classes in a Middle School or in a High School. She says the Middle School hall is crazy loud with kids running in different directions and teachers calling for them to slow down. When she goes to a High School, she struck by the relative order and quiet. The same kids who were racing around the Middle School hall are now walking at a more reasonable rate and talking in normal tones. What’s the difference? Nothing but greater MATURITY.