Time to Pause

In our world today, we have been forced to pause. It has obviously had a big effect on businesses and the like, but we, as Americans, have filled our lives up with busyness. The Church is often no different. In our rapid moving world and schedules, we do not take the time to pause. We do not take the time to prioritize and think about what is most important. We just go about our days on the busy-mill and put our minds in neutral. We often talk about what we “have-to” do today, but are these things really “have-tos?” Before we get on the other side of this pandemic and get life back to “normal,” maybe we need to contemplate a new normal. With all the cancellations of activities, what a great time to do this. Maybe this pause and interruption in our schedules can help us think about simplifying our lives. Maybe we need to do fewer things and focus on real priorities. Why have we filled up our schedules and lives with so many things? What is the reason that we work such long hours and pass our family members by in our own homes? Why don’t we know our own family members, spouses, grandchildren very well? Why don’t we know how to talk to one another, eat together, pray together, serve each other? Why do we have such a hard time taking even 15 minutes a day to spend in God’s Word and seeking Him in prayer?

Perhaps, just maybe, we have bowed to the idol of self: self-pleasure, self-ego, self-preservation above all things. When we are self-absorbed, our lives revolve around our own happiness. We may even do something nice for someone else, but it may be a means of feeling better about self. Often, we don’t live within our means and build up debt. Is it because we are trying to impress others with our stuff? What is our underlying reason for filling up our lives? Has Jesus become just one of many prominent things in our lives, rather than the preeminent One (the most important)? Maybe we ought to take this time to rethink the purpose, focus, and priorities of our lives.

The Bible speaks of our lives in terms of running a race. The goal of this race is not temporary happiness. Happiness on this earth may have short-term prizes, but you can’t take them with you when you die. Perhaps also this health crisis we have been having is forcing us to think about our mortality. What do we treasure and does it last?

Paul the apostle says, “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.” (1 Corinthians 9:24 NIV) Paul writes in this context that we do not run or compete in an earthly race, receiving a prize that is temporary. Rather, we run in a race that has eternal consequences. We tell others of the Great News of Jesus who came to give us eternal life with an eternal prize. We serve like Jesus and we sacrifice our own selfish ways for Him. If it is our goal to love the Lord with all of our heart, soul, and mind first and foremost, and then to love our neighbor ourselves (Matt. 22:36-38), then “self” is taken off the throne of our lives and God is put there. We begin to think about how we can serve others. We think about how we can share how Jesus died in our place to save us from our sin and how He rose again in victory over death and sin.

What if we take this time to pause and think about how we can take aim at the eternal prize? This may mean rearranging our priorities, schedules, and activities in order to better run the eternal race. It may mean praying about the things you were involved in and simplifying so as to free up time to make an eternal difference. There are many ways to think creatively and look outward with the love of Christ. What a good time to ponder this! Maybe this will, by God’s Spirit, bring us and the Church to a new awakening and seeing His Gospel go forward like never before. Now, that would be a great outcome.

Pastor Mark Anderson
Pastor of Evangelism and Outreach
Chisholm Baptist Church

Mark Anderson