REMEMBER THE TORTOISE AND THE HARE STORY? The Hare tore out of the starting gate like a bat out of you know where, causing him to lose the race. The tortoise moved at a much slower, steady pace and eventually won the race. Hurrying our way through life never accomplishes anything but more hurry, and in the wake of hurry, we tend to leave scattered chaos behind. Choosing to move at a slower pace with a specific goal in mind will help us accomplish the things that matter most.
Did you ever notice that Jesus was never late, in a hurry, or running around like a crazy person in the midst of all He had on His plate? He never rushed the disciples here and there as they traveled from city to city, and He was always fully engaged with the multitudes of people He came in contact with along the way.
I, on the other hand, am perpetually five minutes late no matter what, and I seem to be in crazy mode most of the time. How about you? Almost everyone I know agrees life is way too busy. Our planners are so slammed full with obligations, to-do lists, and reminders that we don’t even know where the starting gate is. So, how do we stop the madness? As always, I believe the answer lies in looking to Christ Himself. So, how did He do it?
First and foremost, Jesus always covered His day in prayer. Over and over again in the Gospels, the writers tell us that Jesus prayed. He got up early in the morning and went to a solitary place to pray. Sometimes He even spent entire nights praying. He prayed in public and in private. He prayed for His disciples, and He prayed for you and me. Jesus did not do anything without bringing it to His Father first, even though, in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; (Col. 2:9). I think if we spend as much time in prayer as Jesus did, it would be clear for us too. More prayer would make our agendas much easier to deal with because the agenda would become His, not ours.
I believe another reason Jesus never hurried was because of His deep compassion for people. He took the time to heal the sick (Matt. 14:14), feed the hungry (15:32), restore sight to the blind (20:34), and to seek out the lost and wandering (Mark 6:34). His heart went out to the widow, and He gave her back her son (Luke 7:11-15). He loved the sinful woman and stood between her and her accusers (John 8:1-11). He cared about the “unclean” woman at the well, so He took the long way back to Galilee to engage her in conversation and offer her hope. He even remained in her city two days so many more would have the opportunity to believe in Him (John 4). His purpose of becoming the Savior of the world and our Victor over death and the grave never hindered His showing and telling of the Father’s love all the way to the cross.
How often do we toss out a casual “Hey! How are you?” without ever stopping to notice if the person even heard our question or was poised to give a meaningful response? We say we care, but how often do we intentionally pause to really see people with the eyes of Jesus? Though Jesus was always busy with the thousands scrambling to catch a glimpse of Him, and others pressing in around Him, Jesus never failed to recognize there was a story behind every face.
Maybe you think this sounds a little irresponsible for us today because life moves at a much faster pace than in Jesus’ day. Who can function without a calendar or a smartphone to tell us where and when to go next? Good point! So, let’s look at one more thing: Jesus always kept His goal in sight. A perfect example of this is in Luke 4:42-43. Even though the people He loved and helped and healed wanted Him to linger with them, Jesus explained how He was sent into the world to preach the kingdom of God in other cities. In Luke 19:10, He also explained while eating with Zacchaeus and company that He came to seek and save the lost.
Jesus never lost sight of His purpose and neither should we. Not every need is ours to fill, nor is every project ours to tackle. But, like Jesus, we can be graciously interrupted and view people through the eyes of our calling and purpose — to be Jesus everywhere we go.
You may be thinking, ‘But He is the Son of God. I’m just a (fill in the blank).’ True. But, as followers of Christ with the power of the Holy Spirit indwelling us, we can all learn from and implement His daily strategy for accomplishing our divine purpose and running our race well.
1. START THE DAY IN PRAYER.
2. SURRENDER CALENDARS AND AGENDAS before the Lord, and allow the Spirit to impress on our hearts what really needs to be accomplished today and what can wait.
3. SLOW DOWN the daily pace in order to show compassion for and to listen sincerely to the people we interact with.
Surrendering our time and our jam-packed days will allow us to experience the amazing adventures He has already scheduled for us. The adventures that matter most can impact the Kingdom for all eternity.