In Jerusalem I visited the site where the temple used to be and I walked the same south entry steps that Jesus walked on. I noticed that the steps were irregular – they varied in length, some being long and others being short. I learned that this was done to slow people down as they came to worship! By walking more slowly they would be helped to pray and be more attentive to God and receptive to his word. Imagine if we did that in our churches today! Sadly, most of us rush into church distracted and get there five minutes late.
In Jesus’ day there was a saying, “A noble person is known by… the way he walks” (Sirach 19:29-30). Distinguished men did not run – they walked and the more honorable they were the slower they walked. The Bible has a lot to say about “the way of the upright.” It’s referred to 97 times in the Psalms alone. To walk uprightly is to walk with God, looking to him in the heavens all around you as you walk. This is not done helter skelter! It’s done with care and deliberateness; it’s done patiently. When Jesus said, “I am the way to the Father” (John 14:6, paraphrase) he was inviting us into his unhurried rhythms of grace (Matthew 11:28-30, MSG).
Recently I was reading a book in which a respected Christian teacher said that Jesus did not have much to say about living without hurry. It’s true that the Gospels don’t record lots of instances of Jesus saying the words: “Do not hurry!” But there are many other ways of saying the same thing!
Jesus’ whole life example is one of being unhurried. And this was also an important theme in his teachings:
Don’t be in such a hurry… Listen… Whoever has ears to hear, listen… Don’t worry… Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?… Peace… Come to me… Take my yoke upon you and you will find rest for your souls for my yoke is easy and my burden is light… Walk with me in my unforced rhythms of grace… Don’t run in the dark! Walk with me in the light so you don’t stumble… Peace! Be still… Come away with me by yourselves to a quiet place and rest… Stop your busy work to sit at my feet and listen to my words… Watch and pray… Be constantly alert… Always pray… Wait for the gift of the Holy Spirit that my Father promised… Take time to love your neighbor. *
Jesus’ example was that he was never in a hurry – except to go the cross and die for us! When the Father said it was time he turned and headed straight for Jerusalem, leading his disciples with resolve (Mark 10:32 and Luke 19:28, MSG). Jesus’ only hurry throughout his life was to listen to his Father and to obey him.
We are wise to “Hurry Up and Be Still” with Jesus, to listen to and obey the Father with him. As we learn to slow down and walk in Jesus’ easy yoke it helps us to hear God’s voice and to love others as God loves us.
More Soul Transformation Resources
I invite you to slow down for a few minutes right now by praying “Be Still as the Lake at Dawn” with me. This is a favorite prayer poem I wrote from meditating on Psalm 46:10: “Be still and know that I am God.”
You can help Kristi and I by praying for our new Soul Shepherding ministry to pastors and leaders. If you sign up for our Prayer Team then every week or two Kristi sends out a very short and simple prayer update.
Sign up for our new Soul Shepherding Blog which features prayers like “Be Still as the Lake at Dawn” in a short e-mail 1-2 times per week.
Let’s be friends online: I post a ministry update and an abiding prayer daily on my Facebook and Twitter .
You can share the Christian Soul Care Devotional with your friends.
William Gaultiere, Ph.D. is a Psychologist specializing in “Christian Soul Care” since 1986. Bill and his wife Kristi (a Marriage and Family Therapist) have a donor-supported ministry to pastors and leaders called Soul Shepherding. In counseling, spiritual mentoring, seminars, and retreats Bill and Kristi help people to connect deeply with Christ in ways that facilitate soul transformation. At Bill and Kristi’s webstie, SoulShepherding.org, you will find articles, prayers, and pictures to nourish your soul in God.
William Gaultiere, Ph.D. ~ Soul Shepherding, 4000 Barranca Pkwy, Suite 250, Irvine, CA 92604 ~ http://www.soulshepherding.org/ ~ 949.262.3699 ~ or go to the Contact page on the Soul Shepherding website.
William Gaultiere, Ph.D. & Kristi Gaultiere, Psy.D. ~ http://www.soulshepherding.org
* Paraphrases from Matthew 16:27 (MSG), Matthew 15:10, Matthew 11:15, Matthew 6:25-27, Luke 24:36, Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV and MSG), John 12:35, Mark 4:39 (NKJV), Mark 6:31 (NASB), Luke 10:38-42, Matthew 26:41, Mark 13:33 (AMP), Luke 18:1, Acts 1:4, Luke 10:36-37.