The Pastor is Eugene Peterson's memoir of his thirty-year journey in the pastoral vocation. If the name Peterson doesn't register in your memory bank, he is the translator for The Message, a biblical paraphrase which has sold 15 million copies. He has also authored more than 30 books.
In The Pastor, Peterson shares about the influence of Baron Friedich von Hügel on his life. Von Hügel was an English scholar who spent much of his life writing on the spiritual life. Friedrich von Hügel wisely noted:
Life moves at a blistering pace. The total expanse of human knowledge doubled between 1750 and 1900. Today it doubles every 1.5 years. Social media, multiple cable and satellite channels, and the web provide a torrent of information. Digital music and movies leave us drowning in choices. Parents wrestle with endless children's sporting events. To be competitive, businesses have to work longer and harder than ever.
If you are feeling the ground beneath you beginning to shake, it is the onslaught of the stampede. If you don't want to be trampled, you must intentionally slow down. The psalmist said,
Peterson's paraphrase of Psalm 46:10 is helpful:
Commenting on this verse, Peterson writes:
Quit rushing through the streets long enough to become aware that there's more to life than your little self–help enterprises. When we are noisy and when we are hurried, we are incapable of intimacy–deep, complex, personal relationships. If God is the living center of redemption, it is essential that we be in touch with and responsive to that personal will. If God has a will for this world and we want to be in on it, we must be still long enough to find out what it is (for we certainly are not going to learn by watching the evening news).
There is only one way to keep from being crushed by the stampede. You must step out of the hoof-pounding swirl of dust. You must stop and kneel before God.
Today, stop before you go. "Be still and know that he is God." How?
Go a prayer walk (don't take your phone).
Find a quiet place. Read and meditate on Psalm 46.
Take time to name God's attributes and give praise to him.
Identify the specific examples of the stampede in your life. Ask the Lord for his wisdom in handling them. Consider whether you should keep, curtail, eliminate, or adjust.
God has made you a "human being," not just a "human doing." Yes, there are times to “get busy” for God, but for a few quiet moments why not trade your doing for God with being with God.
Be still. Rest in his love for you.
"Nothing was every accomplished ..." quoted in Eugene H. Peterson. The Pastor: A Memoir. New York: HarperCollins. 2011. Page 225. "The total expanse of human knowledge ..." from Freddy Cardoza, "Why You Should Be Informed." www.FreddyCardoza.wordpress.com. Accessed Januay 6, 2013. "Quit rushing ..." from Eugene H. Peterson. Living The Message: Daily Help For Living The God-Centered Life. New York: Harper Collins. 2007. Page 36.