Life in Mayberry: The Slow Lane


Technology was supposed to be the answer. Computers and cell phones were designed to save time and cut labor costs. I’m reminded of an episode of Lark Rise to Candleford when an invention was created to cut the time and manual labor of men in the fields. The residents of Lark Rise and Candleford had mixed emotions. On the one hand, it was amazing and efficient. Yet, it would cost countless jobs of poor men who had no other skills and no way to earn them.

All the things that man has made to save time or money, such as cars or computers or plastic – have done their jobs, but in return we get pollution, non-biodegradable landfill fillers, and people sitting in a chair staring at a screen that hurts their eyes, keeps them from sleeping because they’re all over our homes, and the use of the mouse causes carpel tunnel. There are consequences to everything.

I heard a sermon Sunday about hurrying up in this fast-paced world, and how technology has created more hurry, not less. How many times have you been stuck waiting somewhere and have been madly typing a Facebook update when something malfunctioned for a moment on your smartphone and you went absolutely berserk? The same is true during your day at the office. E-mails have replaced lovely letters. No one north of the Mason-Dixon cares much about thank-y0u notes, and even this time-honored Southern tradition is fading. I’ve actually been told not to write these notes.  Why? Because we don’t want to take the time to read them, or because the reader assumes we don’t want to take the time to write them? Since when did expressing thanks take up too much of our time?

According to Dr. Mike Long, head pastor at RUMC, here is what hurrying up in a hurry-up world has done to us:

  • We don’t see clearly. Our days are full of things that are really not that important, but even if we are doing godly work, we don’t even pay true attention to it.
  • We don’t listen carefully. That’s for you people out there who carry your cell phones to the dinner table. We can’t even eat, much less listen to those around us. Whether it’s status updates, e-mails, or television, we don’t take the time to listen to others.
  • We don’t think deeply. We don’t reflect. For some reason, we assume that we don’t have time to do it. Here’s my thought on this, not Dr. Mike’s: it’s not that we don’t have the time. It’s that our priorities are totally out of whack. I hate it when Christians say that we can even learn about the word of God in just a few minutes. Just read one chapter a day! When we were in college, did we just study and read for a few minutes a day, expecting to get a reward for that? Then why do we relegate the word of God to a few minutes a day or only on Sundays? Isn’t the Word much more important than anything else? This principle of thinking deeply applies to other areas of our lives, as well. We need to think more deeply about the people and situations going on around us, and not lead shallow lives.
  • We don’t take time to celebrate! We don’t savor life fully and take time for fun, laughter, and friends.

What is the solution to all this hurrying up? It’s amazing how we think this fast-paced stuff is only part of the world we know, but even back in the day,  God knew He needed to give us an out. As a matter of fact, read your Genesis. God Himself needed an out! That’s what the Sabbath was for! As Dr. Mike told us, it’s there for us to use to recharge and renew ourselves. I love those words. They sound so peaceful to me, but they may be energizing to you. We also need the Sabbath to worship! We Christians have moved it to Sundays, but all that matters is that you pick a day where you do no work (try minimal at first!) and rest in the arms of the Lord. It sounds divine to me! It will likely take some practice and work for those of you who are thinking, “I would go BONKERS!”

 

The Sabbath gives us rhythm. If I don’t go to church on Sunday, I feel off at the start of my week. Worship gives me a very comforting sense of peace. If I don’t do my quiet time with God every day, I feel off as well. My rhythm is gone. It’s important, also, to remember that we may think we are indispensable, but we are not! We try so super hard to do that at work. We do not want to lose our jobs. We try that as mothers and wives. But the truth is, the world will keep turning for most people on this Earth if we are down for the count. Remember that we are allowed to rest, and that if we do not, we are not performing at peak capacity.

What does the Sabbath look like? Is it sitting in a corner reading a book all day? Sure. For you. For someone else it could mowing the yard, taking a walk, singing, a trip. What relaxes and refreshes one person does not work for another, so you need to make sure your motives for doing whatever it is are purely about Sabbath rest. Spend your day in reflection. You may have already set goals and resolutions for the year, Dr. Mike said. But will they add to your hurry or take it away? Adam Hamilton said, and I’m paraphrasing, that we should look for one or two things to stop doing to get out of hurrying up.

Find something that energizes you. That excites you about your walk with Christ. You will have to work at it. Anything that becomes a habit takes a conscientious  decision and work. But oh, how God will bless that day! When you make Sabbath a habit, it becomes more than restful and restorative – it becomes holy!

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