Quiet! Be Still!

Just finished writting my next article for the local paper. Here is the unedited version.

Quiet! Be Still!
By Kevin Presseault, Pastor Integration and Discipleship, Woodside Bible Fellowship

Ah spring. The sun is shinning. The grass is turning green. The flowers are starting to bloom. The kids are running around the park. I just love this time of year!

The garden needs planting. The grass needs seeding. The basement needs finishing. The garage needs organizing. The car needs tuning. The kids need soccer shoes. The bike tires need inflating. The windows need washing. The winter clothes need packing. The carpets need cleaning. Final papers at school need to be written. I hate this time of year!

If your life is anything like mine, the warmer temperature seems to bring along with it an incredibly hectic and busy schedule. Work seems to get busier. Family life has a lot more activities. Everything needs to be done around the house. There just seems to be over a hundred things on my to-do list and nowhere near enough hours in the week to get them all done.

It also seems like this is the time of year when it’s very, very easy to lose focus on our relationship with God. With so much that needs to be done, spending that extra time praying, reading the Bible, and meeting with a small group just seems to get in the way of all the other “important” stuff that we need to take care of this time of year. But is that what God would really want?

I wonder sometimes what Jesus would say about our running around like crazy. There’s a little story in Gospel of Mark that I really love. It always serves as a good reminder to me on living a busy life. In chapter 4 we read that Jesus and his disciples are having a very busy day. Jesus spends the entire day preaching and teaching a huge crowd. In fact, this mob of people was so big Jesus needed to sit in a boat out on the water so that everyone could see and hear him. I imagine the disciples worked like mad handling the crowds. When everyone finally leaves, Jesus and his disciples get in the boat to cross to the other side of the Sea of Galilee. I’m sure the disciples were probably hoping for a nice quiet evening after such a long day… but instead they find themselves in a huge storm! They were in a panic! They thought for sure that they were going to die. And what is Jesus doing? He’s asleep. The disciples wake him up. Then Jesus simply says to the wind and the waves “Quiet! Be still!” And the sea instantly became calm.

What does this story have to do with a busy life? Jesus, in the middle of pure craziness simply commands everything around him to be quiet and be still. I think that Jesus was not only telling this to the wind and waves but also to the men in the boat. They were working hard at the situation they were in. It wasn’t until Jesus said to be quiet and be still that calm could be restored to the situation.

This story is a great tie in with the simple little verse Psalm 46:10 that most of us know by heart: “Be still, and know that I am God”. When we are not quiet and still it is so easy to forget God. It is in the stillness that we can know God.

So how can we be quiet and be still during these crazy spring days? Let me recommend three simple things.

  1. Don’t ignore your Bible reading in the summer. Yes, I know… reading the Bible when there’s soccer and baseball and yard work and BBQ’s and so much else going on is easily forgotten. I’m guilty of it myself. Taking the time, even if it’s just a few minutes a number of days during the week, allows us to have some of that important quiet time with God. If you’ve found making Bible reading a regular habit difficult try this simple 5-in-5 challenge. Commit yourself to reading the New Testament for five minutes five days a week. This is easier then trying to commit to reading every day. You get a couple of days off and you could easily read a full chapter in five minutes. Doing this during a busy schedule will start to build regular reading of the Bible into your life and you’d be amazed at how God would speak to you in this time with him.
  2. Don’t completely ditch your small group in the summer. A lot of small groups usually start breaking for the summer in May. Most of these groups won’t get started again until late September or even October. If you do the math this is five months where you won’t be meeting with your small group. That’s almost half the year! I firmly believe that the best place for growing in our relationship with God and with other people is in the small group. For me, a small group is so much more then simply a time of deep Bible study. It is an opportunity to do life together with other people. Sure, it’s nice to have a break from a group however I would encourage you to still try to get together for different types of events. Have a BBQ together. Go catch a baseball game. Have a quiet cup of coffee. Go for a bike ride. See a movie. This will allow you to continue strengthening friendships with your small group. As you meet in smaller settings during the summer you will be reminded of how God continues to work in all of our lives and be able to pray and share what is going on in your life with one or two other members of the group.
  3. Don’t forget to take a day of rest during the summer. God wants us to rest. He doesn’t want us to run at 100% capacity 24-7. That is why he gave us the wonderful gift of a day of rest, or Sabbath. When you work all week and the only time you have to get stuff done around the house is the weekend, it is so easy to sacrifice taking some quiet time on Sunday. In fact, Sunday can end up being one of the busiest days of the week for a lot of people. Rushing to church, heading to a nursery to buy flowers, mowing the lawn, preparing a BBQ, cleaning the dishes, and finally getting the kids ready for school on Monday. This can be incredibly exhausting. Let me recommend something to you that may sound a little silly. If you use a calendar or a day planner to organize the stuff you have going on in your life, find a block of time and schedule in there “REST”. Try to make it for a least a couple of hours. Since it’s now on the calendar, only the direst of emergencies should be able to bump it. God has given us permission to rest from our busy lives. Allow yourself to enjoy it!

Be quiet. Be still. These simple words from Jesus will help us calm the most wild of storms. Enjoy the beautiful weather that God is sending our way. See you at the playground!


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