Slow down, simplify, and center your life

Good morning everyone,
Our theme for this month: “Enjoy the journey by redeeming the time”
Our Bible verse for today: “Make it your ambition to live a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.” 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12 (NIV)
Our thought for today: “Slow down, simplify, and center your life”
Have you seen the movie “Yesterday”? If you’re a lover of Beetles music (as I am) then you will probably enjoy it. It’s about a young man named Jack Malik who has an accident, bangs his head, and ends up in an alternate dimension of reality where the Beetles never existed but where he, Jack, has all the Beetles songs in his head and all the musical talent of the real Beetles. As a result, he ends up a rock superstar performing all of the Beetles’ music, but doing so as if it was his own. However, he soon discovered that it was a crazy life lived at an insane pace and he really didn’t like it very much.
In one scene late in the movie, Jack pays a visit to a man who is an older version of the real John Lennon. But this man, now a senior citizen, lives by himself in a remote home on the seashore, spending his days painting and thinking and in other artsy kinds of activities. It was evidently a simple and quiet life that was very different from what he would have had as the rock star he actually was in real life.
Sometimes readers of 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12 mistakenly conclude that Paul was calling all of us to adopt some kind of simple, sleepy, even dull lifestyle. But is that necessarily what Paul meant? Are we all supposed to be living the life of a recluse by the sea; or as a farmer scratching out a living on a small piece of land; or as a carpenter in a small village; or as a butcher, baker, or candlestick maker? What about school teachers who work in the classroom all day and prepare lessons at home in the evening?  How about law enforcement officers who spend their days in dynamic and even dangerous environments; or nurses working twelve-hour shifts in a busy hospital; or busy mothers; or corporate executives? How does Paul’s teaching apply in those situations?
John Mark Comer offers some insight in his great book, “The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry”. He writes that whatever our role in our current season of life may be, our objective should be to simplify and center life around the things that truly matter. The fact is that most of us are too busy. Most of our lives are too crowded with things that aren’t really very important and which therefore don’t deserve much of our time or attention.
The point is that regardless of your current life situation, decisions have to be made regarding which people and which activities matter the most to you, and are therefore deserving of your time and attention – and which aren’t. Then we center our lives around the people and activities that truly are the most important.
I think another way for Paul to have expressed his point would be “Slow down, simplify, and center your life around the people and activities that truly matter.” That sounds like good advice for all of us.
God bless,
Pastor Jim
Copyright © 2022 Oak Hill Baptist Church, All rights reserved.

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