"One day when large groups of people were walking along with him, Jesus turned and told them, ‘Anyone who comes to me but refuses to let go of father, mother, spouse, children, brothers, sisters—yes, even one’s own self—can’t be my disciple." (Luke 14:25, The Message)
By BISHOP ROBERT HAYES JR.
One of the things that most frightens me about our society is the constant rushing, the insane speed at which we do everything. One hectic day blurs into the next. We seem always, always in a hurry to get to the next activity, the next place. Our culture is obsessed with how fast we can accomplish whatever stands between us and the next finish line.
"When do you need it?" we ask, and the answer is always, "Yesterday."
Our lifestyles haven’t always been this way, my friends. There was a time when the pace was simpler and slower—and we seemed to enjoy life then a lot more. But in today’s maddening rush to reach wherever we want to go next, we have forfeited our peace of mind, our sanity.
We even have lost touch with ourselves.
Most painful of all is a haunting question that we can’t answer because we just don’t have the time: Where has all this rushing taken us?
I contend NOWHERE!
I recall how I used to drive at age 16 on most of the streets that led in and out of downtown Houston. All the traffic lights were synchronized, which simply meant each light was part of a sequence for orderly traffic flow, and, if you cruised along at normal speed, you could make all the lights without stopping.
But not me! I’d sit at each red light, revving my car engine, eager for that light to change. As soon as it turned green, away I’d dash. Yet when I arrived at the next light, I was forced to stop because it was red. In my sprint I broke the sequence of the traffic signals, yet from block to block I still rushed, only to find that I couldn’t advance.
Looking back, I realize how foolish that was. Similarly, we have broken the sequence of significant living.
We rush to the next adventure, only to find what awaits us is unfulfilling. So again off we go, hoping we will find something worthwhile at the next stop. And as a result, our lives are out of order in all aspects.
My friends, this is outrageous. Our culture chases a myth that everything we own and everything we desire has to be fast. We want the fastest computers, digital tablets, and smartphones; we crave cars with speedometers that show 160 miles per hour, but legally we can drive only 70 mph.
Drive-through restaurants produce fast meals. Grocery shelves entice with instant pudding and instant mashed potatoes, and store freezers are full of chocolate-chip cookie-dough ice cream. We can’t even wait for an actual cookie before we eat it!
Look at magazine covers. They declare that, in no time at all, we can make ourselves smarter, thinner, and more beautiful.
In such a society, it was only a matter of time before this mentality affected the Church. The danger this poses becomes clear: We think we can develop a meaningful relationship with our Lord and Savior while on the run!
We are so obsessed with the "need for speed" that our spiritual lives also have become victims of our rush to go nowhere.
A proverb that I often quote is: "Take from life what you want—but pay for it!" This motto reminds me that anything significant or worthwhile is going to cost something.
If you want a happy, satisfying life, you must be willing to pay a price for that to happen. If you want a good life, there are things you must be willing to do to attain it.
And if you want a deep, abiding relationship with Jesus Christ, you must be willing to take the time to nurture that.
In the Gospel of Luke, we find some very hard words attributed to Jesus. These words may shock and surprise some of you. We struggle to imagine Jesus saying that we must let go of father, mother, spouse, children, brothers, sisters—yes, even our own lives—to be his disciple.
But Jesus knew human nature. He knew that amid speed, ease, and misplaced priorities, some will schedule little or no time for dedication and devotion to cause.
If you want to better know Christ and what he can do for you, it will require a sacrifice of time and a re-ordering of your life. It will take dedication to pursue the less popular, narrow road that leads to true fulfillment in life. It will call for devotion to cause to go out of your way to reach toward him.
Slow down! Stop your rush to nowhere! When you do take your foot off the pedal, you will see, hear, smell, and taste the life God has in store for you.