Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience. (Hebrews 4.11)
You should take another glance at that verse. It is a weird concept: “make every effort…to enter that rest…” Effort and rest. Hmmm. Sounds like a contradiction, doesn’t it? Effort and rest. Yet amid this biblical parody lies one of the greatest keys to our spiritual growth; we must learn to pace.
John Ortberg tells a story illustrating our need to pace well. He writes, “When we moved to Chicago, we had little kids. The pace of our lives had accelerated tremendously. I called Dallas Willard, the wisest person about spiritual life that I know, and described to him kind of what was going on in our lives, and asked, “What do I need to do if I want to be spiritually healthy and alive and vital? What do I need to do?” It was a long pause, and then he just came up with this sentence I have never forgotten. He said, “You must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life.” Then there was another long pause, and then I said, “Okay, what else have you got because I don’t have a lot of time and I want as much wisdom as I can get out of you in these few moments.” Then there was another long pause, and he said, “There is nothing else.” He said, “Hurry is the greatest enemy of our spiritual life today.
So, we must eliminate hurry if we want to find life. I remember reading a missionaries account while ministering in Africa. They had been invited into an unreached area, but this required a huge effort of mobilization. The terrain was challenging and the time was short. While traveling, the missionary pushed the team hard. They were hurried. After three days of this frenzied effort all the African helpers suddenly dropped what they were carrying and sat down. The missionary panicked and instructed the interpreter to find out what was going on. The Africans responded by saying, “they are sitting down waiting for their souls to catch up”! They were about the business of ruthlessly eliminating hurry from their lives.
Christmas is typically a hectic season for many. This provides a great learning venue for us to practice pace. Are you up for it? In the next few posts I’ll offer some tips in how to “ruthlessly eliminate hurry” from our lives.