Before we can begin to talk about God’s peace, we need to start with God’s pace.
As we look around our culture and our churches are running frantically.
Most of our problems in ministry are caused or made worse because we are running too fast for too long.
We have not discovered the Jesus Rhythm.
We are too busy to build deep and lasting relationships. We are often too busy to invest in our marriages. We are sometimes too busy to make good choices about our money.
So Why Are We So Busy?
#1 If we are busy, we feel important.
#2 If we slow down, we’ll have to be honest with what is really happening in our lives.
Sometimes we are afraid of the direction our life is headed. We medicate with busyness. We avoid our problems with busyness. We don’t want to face our crumbling families so we just keep running.
Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.
The Life of Jesus
Let’s think about the life of Jesus for a minute. We hear about the birth and the little “lost at the mall” incident when he was twelve. But then he goes dark for about 15 years. We see Him emerge in Luke 4 with an amazing baptism. The Holy Spirit shows up and God speaks from heaven! Talk about impressive. What an amazing introduction to his ministry! So, what happens next?
He disappears into the desert!
Didn’t you have enough time for that before you got started?
But this was the rhythm of Jesus. He regularly took time to rest.
The Jesus Rhythm
#1 He often withdrew. Sabbaths are for rest. By choosing Sabbath, we are protesting and rebelling against our innate desire to trust and worship our self-sufficiency.
#2 He went to lonely places. It’s hard to truly find a place to be alone. It’s hard for us to disconnect from technology. It’s hard for us to sit in silence. Yet, that’s exactly where Jesus went.
#3 Withdraw. Refill. Return.
What It Looks Like In Real Life
- Sometimes people work too much because there is simply too much to do. In this case (in the church), programs either need to be eliminated or more help needs to be recruited. Other times people work too much because they are not working smart and then some teaching needs to happen.
- Vacation are for recreation (not rest). Too often, we tote along the work martyr complex – we use busyness as a badge of honor and insist we have work while on vacation or refuse to take vacation at all. In fact, 40% of Americans do not use all their vacation days. That’s just ridiculous, folks.
- Teenagers are now more sleep deprived than ever because they sleep next to their phone and spend all night unconsciously listening for a text alert. They almost never reach REM sleep. Put these phones away. Have everyone in the family turn them off, put them in the drawer in the kitchen, and leave them there till the morning.
So Where Is the Peace of God?
God’s peace is found in God’s presence.
And God’s presence can only be found when we make room for rest.
We have to allow rest. We have to create silence. We have to make room for the Spirit to speak.
A traditional Jewish greeting on the Sabbath is Shabbat Shalom which means:
May you find God in your rest, and may you find that rest is found in God alone.
When God is present in your rest, he becomes more present in our work.