Listen: Chris Witts presents Morning Devotions
By Chris WittsWednesday 23 Dec 2020Morning Devotions with Chris WittsDevotionsReading Time: 4 minutes
I was driving through to Batemans Bay and stopped at the lovely town of Ulladulla, and walked down the street. And there was a bench seat on the main street with a sign. The sign said, Rest and be thankful. I stopped and looked at it, and realised what a tremendous message was painted on this bench seat: rest and be thankful.
I had never seen this sign before, and felt pleased someone (I don’t know who) had arranged for it to be there. It was worth thinking about. Because it addresses a major problem we have today. We don’t stop enough to think and say to God, Thanks, Lord, for all you’ve done for me and my world. Why? We are too much in a hurry.
Are You Letting Life Rush Past?
I’m sure the internet invention has not helped—we’re in a hurry to answer emails and move onto the next project, and don’t take enough time to stop and consider or reflect on life and the issues we face day by day. There’s almost an unwritten rule that says, Blessed are those who are always in a hurry. But the message on the seat reminded me there is a time to stop and reflect.
The country band Alabama put out a song a number of years ago which has this chorus, describing quite well a common lifestyle of our generation:
I’m in a hurry to get things done
Oh I rush and rush until life’s no fun
All I really gotta do is live and die
But I’m in a hurry and don’t know why.
Don’t hurry. Don’t worry. Somehow we know inside that life rushes past, and if we’re not careful, we can miss out on so much. Many older people regret not spending more time with their family or friends—but by then it’s too late.
Walter Hagen said, “You’re only here for a short visit—so don’t forget to stop and smell the roses.”
The Washington Post told the story of a young man in jeans, long-sleeve t-shirt, playing a violin in a busy street as pedestrians rushed by. He put a few dollars in his case and started playing. But the fiddler standing against the wall was one of the finest classical musicians in the world: Joshua Bell.
The story says that 1,097 people walked by, and only 7 stopped to listen! He is one of the world’s top violinists who filled the Boston Symphony Hall a few nights before. His 1713 violin is worth $3.5 million. But no-one really noticed—they were too busy with their own lives to hear something really beautiful right in front of them.
Do You Have the Right Priorities?
Someone has said, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
Steve Martin is the star of the movie Cheaper by the Dozen. In the movie, Steve faces a choice between his dream job as coach of a major college football team and taking care of his large family well. He chooses family and then says, “If I mess up raising these kids, then nothing else matters.” That’s a statement of priority.
Jesus said: “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest.” (Matthew 11:28 – The Message)
I think John Wesley knew what he was talking about years ago when he said: “Though I am always in haste, I am never in a hurry.” He allowed God to control his busy life and placed God first. And that made all the difference.
The Bible never says that Jesus rushed anywhere. He was usually busy but found time to pray a lot. His total ministry was accomplished in three short years, but he found time to play with children, to investigate a fig tree, to take a nap during a boat ride, to rest at noon-time beside a well, and to attend a wedding reception.
The Bible does not say, If you hurry, you can catch up with God. It does say, “Be still [or cease your striving] and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). Jesus did not say, Join up with me and I will work you 18 hours per day.” Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)
Do you ask God to show you what’s important in life, so you can organise your time, not to rush everywhere?