Too Busy to Stop and Listen?

Gulls on the shoreEvery day I make a list of what I hope to do. And spring is a busy time, so I have long lists. Lawn to fertilize. Perennial beds to cultivate. Trash to burn. Seeds to plant. And on it goes.

For my office I also have lists. I’m so list-conscious, I find it difficult some mornings to sit quietly and meditate on God’s Word, draw out an application and listen for the voice of the Spirit. It takes discipline to quietly count my blessings and lift my heart in worship. My list makes me itchy to get going. My mind is going off in a dozen different directions. Those flowers that need planting. The article to write. The repair job. The chapter to revise. The bill that needs paying. The letter to be written.

A-a-gh, mind stop AppleBlossChurchwandering. Relax. Be quiet. Be open. Let God whisper to your soul.

I’m way too action-oriented. Too bound by to-do-lists. Do you have that problem? Now, I wouldn’t want to slouch through each day doing nothing constructive, but I wonder sometimes if I’m too addicted to crossing off completed tasks on my list. As if my sense of worth is dependent on how many tasks I can complete, not the quality of the tasks: quantity not quality.

In order to be wise about what we do, we need to have a sense of God’s priorities. For that we need to learn to listen in quietness to His voice. Does not the Psalmist write, “He leads me beside the quiet waters.” And it is beside those quiet waters that “He restores my soul” and gives direction. Does God not say, “Be still and know that I am God,” and “When you are on your beds, search your hearts and be silent”. (See Psalm 23, Psalm 46:10, Psalm 4:4).

The Lord Jesus had a much more crucial to-do-list than anyone could ever have, LilacLogHousebut he left his disciples and the crowds and went up on a mountain to be quiet and pray. (See Matt. 14:23.) From earliest times, God established the sabbath principle, that we should set aside one day in the week to come apart, to worship, to rest, to be quiet and listen to his voice. That doesn’t mean we should fill the whole day with church activities.

We desperately need to program times of quietness, periods free from activity, seasons when we lift our hearts heavenward. Times to be still; to listen. Workaholism is not valued in heaven.


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