When They Prayed
FROM THE BISHOP DAVID GRAVES   I chose the theme of our 2023 Annual Conference session, “When They Prayed,” based on Acts 4:31: “And when they had prayed, the place in which they ...
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Slow Down

September 17, 2018

35Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. 36Simon and his companions went to look for him, 37and when they found him, they exclaimed: “Everyone is looking for you!” Mark 1:35-37

Years ago, as a nursing home administrator, I served one that was part of a national chain. The home office was in Texas. Keep in mind that this was in the late 80s. The best option for being timely with required reports was to put them in snail mail several days before the due date. If we ran late, we could at least tell the home office, “the report’s in the mail.”

And then FedEx came along. We could prepare our reports and send them overnight. I looked at FedEx suspiciously, knowing it was going to mean more haste and less reflection on the goal of providing medical care for 120 people. It did. We would get calls requesting a report be completed and sent via FedEx that afternoon so management could review the report tomorrow.  And then a new day arrived. I walked in from lunch one day and my secretary was beaming. We had a new tool to use in the office! It had arrived with instructions during lunch. She was so excited. We were moving into the modern age! I shook my head and said, “Remember what happened when they gave us the FedEx account number? They wanted things tomorrow. Now they’ll want things even faster.” 

And that’s exactly what the fax machine brought – demands that information be provided even quicker, faster, sooner. Send a fax in the morning and ask for the information by 5 p.m. Oh no, too slow. Send a fax overnight so that it’s waiting for the office to open at 8 a.m. and ask for the information by noon (our time, not Texas time). Oh my! We tried to balance providing care with demands for instant information. What we were left with was less time to reflect on the needs of the residents as we spent more time meeting the needs of the home office.   

Mail, FedEx, fax, email, and now texting. The speedometer of life continues to trend faster. Information is sent faster so that answers can be received more quickly. Do something. Decide now. Do it now! Hurry or you might miss something!  

Jesus knew what it was like to be rushed. Being rushed meant that people crowded around him so thickly that it was difficult for anyone to get through and a sick woman had to trust that touching the hem of his garment would make a difference. Being rushed meant there were always people who wanted the latest, greatest miracle. Being rushed meant that the disciples panicked when Jesus couldn’t be found because people were asking questions that they couldn’t answer without Him. 

Jesus knew that the only way to survive being rushed was to spend time with the Father reflecting on his plan. I think we should remember what Jesus knew to be true – connecting with the Father is the only way to survive the rush of life no matter what century one lives in. So slow down. Catch your breath. Put your phone down. (Unless you have a Bible app on your phone.) Open your Bible and read for a few minutes. Find time to pray. Share the desires of your heart with the One who loves you the most and reflect on His reply. Attend to the need for a deep and abiding relationship with the Lord instead of the needs of the world. The world will wait and you’ll be better equipped to handle whatever it sends your way! 

Dr. Nita Crump serves as Director of Connectional Ministries. Contact her at nitac@sgaumc.com.

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