Pastor John

Pastor John

Running Where Jesus Walked

The first time I visited the land of the Bible, Israel, I travelled with a small group of pastors along with our wives. We had a 7-day tour planned with most of these major sites that a group of Christian pastors would want to see: Sea of Galilee, the Mediterranean Sea coastline, the Mount of Beatitudes, the village of Capernaum, the Jordan River valley, the Dead Sea region, finished off with a full tour of the city of Jerusalem. When you consider that two of the seven days were travel days to and from Israel, that left only five days of actual sightseeing, which isn’t much when there are so many places to see.

Our Israeli tour guide, who was one of the best in the business, in his dry-wit way said at the beginning of our tour, “For the next five days, we’re going to run where Jesus walked.”  I think that’s how many of us try to do life. We’re running ahead at a hurried and frenzied pace, but Jesus is wanting to walk with us through life… and if He is the one we’re supposed to be following, it’s not wise to run ahead of Him.

A pastor seeking counsel from his wiser and older mentor asked him what he should do to experience deep spiritual transformation. His experienced mentor said, “You must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life.” The pastor wrote those words down in a journal, repeating the words to himself under his breath as he wrote, then looked up and said, “Got it. What else?” His counselor said, “There is nothing else. That’s it.”

Slowing down to be in loving union with Jesus is the most important condition for allowing our souls to experience a “with God” kind of life. It is the only way to find rest for our souls.

During the pandemic, more of us than ever before have been quarantined, locked down, at home, and socially distanced, but we have not rested. In fact, our national sense of restlessness is at an all-time high.

Thomas Kelly was an early 20th century Quaker writer and educator.  In the following quote he talked about an incessant pull to try to do too much, too fast:

“We feel honestly the pull of many obligations and try to fulfill them all. And we are unhappy, uneasy, strained, oppressed and fearful we shall be shallow… We have hints that there is a way of life that is vastly richer and deeper than all this hurried existence, a life of unhurried serenity and peace and power.”

What’s amazing about those words is that Kelly wrote them in 1941. The need for genuine rest for our souls is a need that is not chronologically confined or defined. In every age, at every life stage, with the turning of every new page of history, the words of Jesus stand above time: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

Rest for your souls. What a great phrase. Let’s talk about it this Sunday.

Loving the Journey,

Pastor John