“A new command I give you – love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:34-35).
In these two verses, Jesus gives us the highest value in His kingdom’s economy – love. When He was asked what the greatest of all commandments was, you could simplify it to this one word, love – a love for God and a love for others.
But love is painfully time consuming. And as I’ve said before, you can’t ‘micro-wave’ it. There are absolutely no shortcuts to it, no killer ‘app’ you can download, or life-hack that’s possible. Love takes an enormous amount of time if you want to experience it – the ‘what’ that you truly desire.
Love and hurry are oil and water – they simply do not, and cannot mix. As I stated, all of my worst moments, as a husband and father, a neighbor or friend, are when I’m in a hurry – late for an appointment, behind on my unrealistic to-do list, trying to cram too much into my day. I can’t speak for you, but I ooze anger, tension, a critical spirit – when I’m in a hurry.
It comes as no surprise then, that the Apostle Paul’s first descriptor of love is “patient” – slow, and the reason God’s word says we are to “walk with God,” not “run with Him.” Because God is love – and that love can only be experienced in ‘slow’ time.
I saw a video of Francis Chan that I thought was quite powerful. Chan talked about the ‘treadmill’ of living that we’ve ascribed to. That in the very beginning of our lives, we are put on a treadmill and taught, this is what life is all about. Thus, kids have been run around the world on weekends, chasing this, chasing that. We’re told that the key to keeping them out of trouble is by keeping them busy.
But then, this virus surfaces, and all around the world, our treadmills came to a ‘screeching’ halt, and so many had no idea what to do. But just maybe, this time has been a gift? Just maybe, if we should so choose, to seize this opportunity, and re-foster, re-kindle, re-fresh, our need to ‘love’ – to slow – and experience ‘love’ the way God wanted us to in the first place?
It’s ironic, isn’t it? We’ve been chasing and chasing for so long, and now, the chase can’t happen. Everything we’ve deemed vital to success has come to a standstill. But just maybe, this time, to catch our breath, not to re-engage as before, when restrictions are lifted, but to ‘slow’ in such a way – to realize JUST what really matters most.
Thus, as you move through your day this weekend, pay attention to your body, the sensations of hurry, stress, distraction, or irritations that you feel. Notice how they inhibit your ability to be present in love. Then, pause, 2-3 more times during the weekend, to simply breathe, take in God’s loving presence, and practice gratitude.