Our world is one of massive inequality and inequity. But there's one great equalizer common to every person on the planet: time.
Each and every one of us gets the exact same amount of it, minute by minute, hour by hour. Some live longer than others but in every moment of life, the speed and pace of time is identical for all of us. Time may have some elasticity in theory but it is completely rigid in reality. And so the only choice we have is what we will do with each moment.
None of this is new. We all know and feel the limits of time, in both mind and body. And if we're not careful, these limits will sow seeds of anxiety in us. Culture at large partners with these limits and often whispers this lie: The more you achieve and the faster you achieve it, the more you accomplish and the quicker you accomplish it, the more productive and therefore the more successful you are. So go go go. Don't stop. Hurry.
But an anxious and hurried life is diametrically opposed to a healthy spiritual life.
I believe that an anxious and hurried life is a strong indicator that we’ve anchored our lives not on God but on our ambitions, our abilities, and, ultimately, on ourselves.
I also believe that an anxious and hurried life often means that we’ve compromised relationships for the sake of results.
A friend once asked the late theologian Dallas Willard, What do I have to do in order to achieve spiritual health? After thinking for a moment, Willard replied, You must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from you life.
Paul writes in Philippians 4v6-7, Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Do not be anxious.
Pray. Petition. Give thanks. Present your requests to God.
Then incomprehensible peace will guard your hearts and minds.
In the ancient world, across all world religions, it was understood and accepted that the standard practice of the gods was to establish their holiness in a place or structure – a holy mountain, a holy river, a holy temple, etc. In the ancient mind, the holiness of the gods was always established in a physical location. But the God of Israel does something different. He goes about creating the world and then establishes his holiness in an unexpected way, in an unexpected place.
Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array. By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done. Genesis 2v1-3
The first place where this God establishes his holiness is not a place at all. This God first establishes his holiness in a day. And what is a day? It's a segment of time. God establishes holiness in time. The Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel explains this way: […] to the Bible it is holiness in time, the Sabbath, which comes first. When history began, there was only one holiness in the world, holiness in time.
So whatever you're doing, wherever you're going, no matter how much work there is to be done, no matter how many opportunities there are to be taken advantage of, remember this:
Do not be anxious. Ruthlessly eliminate hurry. And let the incomprehensible peace of God guard your heart and mind so that you may know, feel, and embrace the reality that every minute of every day of your life is teeming with holy potential.