Don’t Stumble

15 May

“Wisely, and slow. They stumble that run fast.”  ~ William Shakespeare

My mother encouraged her boys to read much and often and I was one who willingly accepted her challenge.  I was an avid reader, ordering all sorts of books from Scholastic.  Too bad I never ordered Shakespeare in grade school because, if I had, maybe my motto would have been “wisely, and slow” rather than what I usually embodied: “stupid and fast”.

Isn’t that the way of life for so many of us, especially in our youth?  We rush to accomplish tasks so that we can get on to the next task.  If we do something slipshod that doesn’t seem to bother us because we say to ourselves that, at least, we got things done.  If something is completed wrong, however, we have to go back and redo it, correct it, and somehow make it right.

The incredibly difficult task of our high school teachers — especially in Industrial Arts or Physical Education — was to teach us to slow down, think our project through, and work on it deliberately and without haste.  I have seen some spectacular accidents and injuries because someone rushed and ignored safety protocols.

“They stumble that run fast.”  Even runners know that it is not about running as fast as possible.  It is about running as fast as possible with a measured speed that takes into account a number of variables such as weather, terrain, and the like.  What might look to an outsider as a really fast run is actually a deliberate run done wisely.

Sometimes we jump into ministries.  We rush to get things done and, in the process, may ostracize some people or fail to meet the needs of others.  We cannot hurry ministry.  We need to be wise and take our time.  Some of the best ministry I ever spent with and on another took a long time.

There have been times that I sat in silence with someone who was contemplating their impending demise or a radical change in the quality of their life because of impending surgery.  They didn’t need to hear me say a whole lot to them.  They needed me to be with them.  Thank God I was smart enough to recognize that and take the time that they needed.  I might have wanted to get in and out quickly but that would not have served their needs.

So it is with our relationship with God.  Sometimes we treat that relationship fast and capriciously.  We say our prayers really quick and then go about our business.  In doing so, we cut God out of our day while thinking that we did everything we “needed” to do.  Maybe God wanted us to sit with Him that day and listen for what He had to say to us.  Rushing is not going to help our relationship with God at all.

FAITH ACTION:  Slow down and spend some quiet time with the Lord in prayer today.