The essential thing ‘in heaven and earth’ is . . . that there should be long obedience in the same direction; there thereby results, and has always resulted in the long run, something which has made life worth living. (Frederick Nietzsche)
We’re people in a hurry, and I’m one of them. The promise of quick results, faster delivery on what I want (Amazon drones) is intoxicating. The question that’s begging to be asked, and I don’t always want to ask, is whether or not hurry has ever added anything of real value to my life. I’d have to answer “No, it has not.” Hurry has never enhanced my family relationships or connections with friends, and leaves me feeling disconnected from God, and ultimately myself. In fact, when I ruthlessly examine my life, only bad things have happened quickly (bike crash that broke my elbow). Everything good that I value has developed slowly in my life over time.
I’m not going to change the pace of life or the dizzying rate of change in our world. That, I have no control over. I can do what some have done—disconnect from life and move off the “grid,” but that’s not a“call” I’m hearing in my life. I am hearing the quiet voice of God counseling me to internally moderate my pace and take time to breathe and listen, and afford the people around me the chance to do the same. God’s not working off the same delivery timeline as Amazon. Faster delivery times tickle the reward center in my brain, but don’t change my heart.
The direction it is currently going in is that today we are a society that operates on instant gratification and expect quick results. We no longer live and die in the some town, grow up in one house, work for one company – it’s fast paced and results oriented. This is truly showing up in the new generation. But, God doesn’t work on our timeline, and often those things most important and most gratifying take time. As parents, are we allowing our children the “time” to learn these deep lessons? Are we living a life that allows for God’s timing?
Paul’s letter to the Galatians reveals that there is as much as a ten-year span during which Paul (Saul) went about his life in Tarsus. Luke doesn’t indicate the significant time of “waiting” in his historical account in the Book of Acts. Presumably this was a time when Paul practiced his trade as a tentmaker and matured in his new faith as a Jewish follower of Jesus. He must have had contact with others in the larger church because when Barnabas needed help in Antioch, he went looking for Paul to help him, and in the process, Paul became the main leader of the expansion of the Gospel message to the greater Roman Empire.
The news about this reached the church in Jerusalem, so they sent Barnabas to Antioch. When he arrived and saw how God had blessed the people, he was glad and urged them all to be faithful and true to the Lord with all their hearts. Barnabas was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and many people were brought to the Lord. Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul. When he found him, he took him to Antioch, and for a whole year the two met with the people of the church and taught a large group. It was at Antioch that the believers were first called Christians. (Acts 11:22-26. See also Galatians Gal. 1:13-2:1)
What we might find to be a waste of time, God uses to shape and connect us. We want microwaveable lives—God uses a slow cooker. I know we’ve shifted to a culture in which we’re more attuned to short-term events and commitments. We see that around St. Andrew. We don’t ask people to join a small group for the rest of their lives—we ask if you can gather with others around a dinner table one time a week for six weeks. Or, can you commit to help with a Habitat house this Saturday, not every Saturday for the rest of your life? However, underneath these short-term commitments, there has to be the longer-term commitments to the good work God will do in us if we stay connected and patient. The good things take time.
For a secular take on this, check out this video by Simon Sinek. Sobering stuff.
Here’s what I have on my desk…
SUNDAY, JANUARY 29TH: NEW MEMBERS INFORMATIONAL CLASS —11:30 AM in the Conference Room. Join Pastor Rich for lunch and a discussion on what it means to be a member of St. Andrew.
RSVP for your lunch and to request child care on your Communication Card THIS SUNDAY.
- ANDREW MEN ARE GOING ON STRIKE! The next Men’s Club meeting will be a bowling night at Napa Bowl, on Tuesday, February 7th. Meet at 6:45PM at In-N-Out Burger, 820 Imola Ave., Napa, for dinner, then around the corner to Napa Bowl for 2 games of bowling. Cost for bowling: $14, includes two games and shoe rental. Please MARK YOUR COMMUNICATION CARD THIS SUNDAY or RSVP to Brian (email@example.com) so that he can reserve lanes.