without knowledge is not good, and whoever makes haste with his feet misses his
way.” (Proverbs 19:2, ESV) He who
hurries his footsteps errs. (Proverbs 19:2, NASB) Enthusiasm without knowledge
is no good; haste makes mistakes. (Proverbs 19:2, NLT).
Who, or what, determines the direction you go
each day? And who, or what, determines
the pace at which you go that direction?
These are big questions, but questions, I’m afraid, that we spend far
too little time reflecting upon. Somehow, we have bought into the lie that bigger and more and faster are better. We have gotten so caught up in trying to do
everything, that we actually accomplish nothing of eternal significance. The most important things, and processes, in
life cannot be rushed. They cannot be
manufactured; they can only be grown over time.
If we want to know God deeply and well, it is just going to take time. “A long obedience in the same direction,” as
Eugene Peterson so beautifully stated.
Simply put, hurry is the
enemy of spiritual life. When asked what
someone must do to have a relationship with God that is vibrant and fruitful
and alive, Dallas Willard once said, “You must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from
your life.” Or, as the psychologist Carl
Jung once put it: “Hurry isn’t of the devil, hurry is the devil.”
In other words, speed kills. Speed breaks down and burns out. Speed is reckless and sloppy. Speed keeps us from being able to see what
we need to see and hear what we need to hear.
It keeps us from being able to notice and pay attention. Speed makes us miss the point; it keeps us
from being able to enter into what God is doing, both within us and around
us. Ultimately, speed is all about us,
and not about God. If we do not watch
our speed, eventually we will end up in big trouble.
Jesus, though he did so
much, was never in a hurry. That is why
he was able to enter into conversations with people even though he was being
pulled in a million directions. He let
the Father determine what he did and did not do, who he did and did not spend
time with. It wasn’t determined out his
own of need—or theirs, for that matter—but out of the larger purposes and
direction of the Father.
That’s why he was able to
stop in the middle of a crowded street to hear the story of a nameless, bleeding
woman, even though he was in route to heal a dying little girl. That’s why he was able to wait four days
after he heard his friend Lazarus was on his deathbed. That’s how he could show up at a pool filled
with hundreds of desperately needy people and only heal one of them. That’s how he had time to go through Samaria
to have a long conversation with a woman at a well, who no one else in her town
would talk to. That’s how he could respond
to his disciple’s statement that “everyone in town is looking for you” with the
statement, “Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there
also. That is why I have come.” That’s why he could wait until the fourth
watch of the night to go out to the disciples on the raging sea. And I could go on and on.
Jesus did not allow hurry to
take his life captive. And neither
should we. If we want to have any hope
of being his presence and his hands and his voice in this dark and desperate
world. It will be because we took the time to be with him, and listen to him,
first. And if we never slow down, that
is not possible.
Slow us down, O God, so that we can do the work you have given us to do, and not merely our own. Amen.