After church service on Sunday morning, a young boy suddenly announced to his parents, "Mom & Dad, I've decided to become a minister when I grow up!"
"That's okay with us, but what made you decide that?"
"Well," said the little boy, "I have to go to church on Sunday anyway, and I figure it will be more fun to stand up and yell, than to sit still and listen."
It can be hard to sit still and listen, can’t it?
Last Sunday was a very busy day in the life of our church! We had assembly, Sunday school and Choir Practice... followed by Worship... and the church picnic... (which took some planning and effort from many to make happen).
It was a great day that I loved and enjoyed... and I hope you did, too. We had a fantastic turnout - with children running around, playing in the splash pad at the River Park on one end... while a baby shower was taking place on the other end! And I think John Grizzell and I were out on the river in his canoe while the baby shower was taking place. Again, it was a fun... busy day.
After things settled down, and the kayaks were packed away, and I had a chance to shower off the river... I looked at Tammy and said, “Here we go again. It’s Sunday, but Sunday’s coming... and now I’ve gotta figure out what to preach on next week!”
Many of you know that I try to make it into the Church office by 7:00-7:30 am, most mornings. It’s quiet. The phone isn’t ringing. The doorbell doesn’t ring. And that quietness, that stillness, gives me the chance to prepare for the day... and for this day... Sunday... and that’s when it dawned on me; maybe that’s what we need to be reminded today! We (you and I) need to be reminded of the importance of stillness when it comes to our faith... God’s Word says as much:
Be still and know that I am God...
Be still and know...
I certainly enjoy moments of stillness... times of quiet reflection. The peace & quiet is one reason I like to kayak so much. When you paddle up, north of the train trestle here in West Point, or just south of Downtown, all you can hear is the water and sounds of nature. You seldom hear a voice unless it’s yours!
That’s why some of you like to go hunting... or fishing... or walking... I’m sure! There’s a peace and quiet in God’s natural cathedral that restores the soul.
And many wonder what’s the big deal?
Well, the “big deal” is this: you and I cannot be the people God has called us to be without moments of quietness. We’re called to “be still and know.” Stillness is an essential part of our growing deeper in our relationship with Christ; especially if we hope to mature and grow as followers of Christ. We will not become the men and women that God’s calling us to be without moments of solitude, stillness... quiet reflection.
Of course, most of our lives are spent in anything but stillness. I know I can get caught up on the treadmill of schedules and calendars with the best of them!
And all during the week my calendar tends to get fuller and fuller... so that when I make the turn towards the homestretch of the week, trying to remember to do all the things I need to get done... and meet all the deadlines and demands (just like many of you)... it’s a relief to be blessed with a few moments of stillness... a brief respite that’s demand free! A moment to catch my breath, and to regroup. Of course, those moments never last... because when I do have a moment to rest... that’s when I remember that the grass needs cutting, the gutters need cleaning, the trash needs emptying... there’s always something available to keep us busy.
Maybe you can relate: I find that moments of true, peaceful, restful solitude are elusive at best.
But most of our busyness is our fault! We’re always in overdrive! Thanks to “Rolaids” and “Excedrin” and “Ambien” we repeat the haste over and over with monotonous determination.
If you have children/grandchildren: there’s school, homework, ball-games, band practice... If you’re a teacher you always have lesson plans to prepare... papers to grade... folders to go out! If you’re retired, you probably wonder how you ever had time for work!
For me... it’s visits, services, club meetings, committee meetings, council meetings... all necessary, all needed, all good. But because of our busyness, we tend to dismiss quietness - stillness - as being unproductive! We feel like we’ve gotta be doing something to be productive! And even though most of the things we do are important... they’re not all as important as we’d like to pretend.
Sometimes we do everything we can to avoid stillness and quiet... because we KNOW that when we get still, when we get quiet... God speaks. And honestly, we most often don’t want to hear what God has to say.
But IF you and I really want to grow in our faith... if we really want to benefit from quietness, from stillness, in this overstimulated world of ours... then we’ve got to be intentional about it. We need to make time for quiet.
We NEED to “be still and know.”
I wonder, how much our lives would change if we took this biblical admonition seriously? If you and I would deliberately, intentionally schedule a time out. If we’d “gear-down” our lives for a moment... to carve-out some much needed quiet time... a Sabbath... for prayer, for meditation... for some soul searching alongside no one save the Spirit of Christ.
How much of our agitation and irritable-ness and confusion and disorientation would simply begin to fade away... how insignificant petty differences would become... and how BIG would God become... how small would our troubles appear? Security, peace, and confidence would surely overcome our fear, and insecurity... and anxiety.
Was it not Jesus, who said to his disciples, after a time of busyness in ministry, to “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest”?
It can even be difficult to experience stillness, quiet in church. In fact, the current trend in most churches today is to “rock concert” you to death with lights and music and noise - in a effort to elicit some sort of emotional response... that mimics a spiritual high... a cloud-nine experience... Again, it’s that whole idea that you gotta be productive in order to experience satisfaction.
But I can’t find anywhere in the Scripture where Jesus did that. I can find, time and again, references to Jesus retreating to a quiet place to pray... and to seek God’s face...
And if it was good enough for Jesus to break away from the demands of life, to a solitary, quiet place... it’s good enough for you, and me. It’s what we all, really need.
Be still and know that I am God.
Be still and know...
“Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest”
If you and I aren’t taking the time to “be still” - we’re not doing it right! Let’s follow Jesus. Let’s seek his face as we listen for the “still, small voice” that thunders through the noise of this life... if we get still enough to listen.