As a kid, my mother sometimes told me “Walk, don’t run”; especially if I was carrying scissors! It was good advice, not just for those dangerous moments but for all of life.
A few years ago, when Dr. John Jackson stepped into the presidency at William Jessup University, a mentor/friend advised him in his first year to run as fast as he could, and in the second year … run faster. That advice reflects our culture. Speed is everything and faster is better. But it typically leads to death, not life.
Wang Mingdao, one of China’s most famous church pastors of the last century, once asked a young man, “How do you walk with God?” The understudy started listing off spiritual disciplines and Christian activities, “Wrong answer,” retorted Mingdao. “To walk with God you must go at walking pace.”
How do we walk with Jesus when we are running through life?
Is it possible that we have grown so convinced of the urgency of everything around us that we have pressed past the Lord’s timing?
Jesus came to save the world, yet He lived in virtual obscurity for 30 years. Imagine what He might have been able to do for the Kingdom of God had He launched into a ministry immediately after His renowned visit to the Temple at 12 years old! How much more could He have achieved if He had preached for 20 years instead of three?
The Apostle Paul was commissioned on the road to Damascus to take the Gospel to the Gentiles, but then disappeared from the radar for 14-17 years before his first missionary journey. Where was his urgency? If only he had started sooner; he might have slipped in eight missionary trips instead of just three!
As babies, it takes most of us about a year to learn how to walk. Then we spend decades gradually accelerating.
It saps the soul.
Alan Fadling writes: “Boredom is a modern phenomenon. It’s a way of describing how the empty spaces between our hurried experiences feel to us.” Souls in chaos not only do not rest, they cannot rest.
Walk, don’t run. It will require a ruthless examination of our lives. It will emerge only from a purging and a refocusing. It will mean “No” as much as “Yes” in our lives. Truth be told, our busyness flows more from insecurity than obedience.
A return to walking will require re-ordering and re-prioritizing. Only some people have the courage to go there.
But it’s where we meet Jesus.