Are you busy? Of course you are! There’s a good chance you debated whether or not you had enough time to read this missive. Being busy is a normal part of the world we live in. Jesus was busy: “He said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a remote place and rest for a while.” For many people were coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat.” (Mark 6:31)
The good news is being busy won’t kill you. But being hurried can. Hurry is an inner condition of the soul. Richard Foster says “It [Being hurried] means to be so preoccupied with myself and my life that I’m unable to be fully present with God, with myself, and with other people. I’m unable to occupy this present moment. Busy-ness migrates to hurry when we let it squeeze God out of our lives…Hurry is a form of violence to the soul.”
In fact, I read that in Chinese, the symbol for busyness is a combination of two characters: heart and killing.
But our Good Shepherd makes us a promise: “He lets me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside quiet waters. He renews my life…” (Psalm 23:2-3) The image is one of God the shepherd and us the sheep. Green pastures for food and quiet waters for drink.
Sheep are frightened of turbulent water, they don’t like stagnant water – and they refuse to drink where other animals, like hogs or cows, drink. So the good shepherd leads them to quiet waters (still or peaceful in other versions).
The Hebrew word translated quiet is related to the important biblical concept of rest.
You and I think of rest as physical – relaxing, taking a load off – taking a nap. But biblically, rest means much more. Rest describes protection from enemies. It describes an environment where life can thrive. It describes favor with God.
Rest is the opposite of hurry…and it is what Jesus promises us.
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”” (Matthew 11:28–30, The Message)
Join us Sunday and let’s talk about rest in my sermon, “Quiet Waters.”