Summary: We need to practive slowing (solitude) to spend quiet time with God in order to draw closer to him and allow him to transform us.
Hurry has actually become a sickness, a disease for us in the U.S…which is ironic with all these “time savers” we have. “Time magazine noted that back in the 1960s, expert testimony was given to a subcommittee of the Senate on time management. The essence of it was that because of the advance in technology, within twenty years or so people would have to radically cut back on how many hours a week they worked, or how many weeks a year they worked, or else they would have to start retiring sooner. The great challenge, they said, was what people would do with all of their free time.” That was forty years ago…would you say you struggle with what to do with all of your free time? Unless you’re retired you’re probably thinking yeah right. Unfortunately we don’t have more free time, our lives haven’t slowed down since the 60’s, they’ve sped up, and we can’t seem to fit enough into our days. We have less time available because we are trying to do too much, and we wonder where all the time goes.
Think of all the technology and resources we have and we still can’t fit it all in. We have washing machines and dishwashers so we don’t have to do wash by hand. We have microwaves to cook with because the stove is too slow. When that isn’t fast enough we have a whole category of restaurants called fast food because we don’t have time to prepare a meal even with a microwave. Since fast food wasn’t fast enough we invented the drive thru window so we could get it even faster. At one point McDonalds was guaranteeing that they could get you through in 30 seconds from the time you ordered your meal to the time you picked it up. Dominoes became famous for promising to deliver you a pizza within 30 minutes of ordering. That is until several of their drivers got in trouble for speeding and driving hazardously getting the pizzas there in time.
The meal is the perfect comparison of how we have become hurry sick. Contrast this to dining in other places around the world. When Amy and I were in Europe we went to eat at a restaurant shortly after arriving and I remember sitting down to eat, we didn’t have to wait too long and the waitress came and gave us a menu. Then what seemed liked 20 minutes later the waitress finally returned to take our order. After what seemed like an hour we finally received our food. The whole dining experience took over an hour and a half. I remember being very frustrated at the “lousy service” at the restaurant. After eating several meals this way I learned that meals in their culture is an experience, it is not something you hurry through to get to the next thing, it is the main event. Eating quality food, spending time fellowshipping with others is a priority for them, kind of like…in Jesus’ day when a meal was important. Read the gospel accounts, eating a meal together was a big deal. Listen to what the Bible says about the first Christians:
NIV Acts 2:46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts,
How often do you spend time as a family eating at least one meal a day together catching up on your day? Not very many because we have other things we have to get to. We are so programmed by American culture to hurry, to fit more into my day, that we sometimes miss the things which are really important, particularly our relationships with other people and our relationship with God.
This is the problem, when we live a hurried lifestyle it is virtually impossible for God to work within us to help us grow spiritually. Let me remind you what spiritual growth is, our sermon series is focusing on growing spiritually: spiritual growth is receiving God’s grace to know him better (in other words it’s relational) and maturing to be more like him (we reflect Jesus’ character and actions, doing what he would do). If we are living our lives in a hurry we don’t spend time with God and therefore we prevent God from sowing his grace, his spiritual fruits into our lives, fruits of love, joy, peace, etc.. John Ortberg writes, “Love and hurry are fundamentally incompatible. Love always takes time, and time is one thing hurried people don’t have.”
God tells us in our memory verse in Psalm 46 “be still and know that I am God.” Being still is exactly the opposite of hurry. Carl Jung once said, “Hurry isn’t the work of the devil, it is the devil.” I wouldn’t agree 100% with that but we can probably agree that the most successful temptation the devil can muster against us today is to keep us so hurried we do not have time left to nurture our relationship with God and with other people. We leave no room for God in our schedule.