AN UNHURRIED LIFE
By Denise O’Donoghue
Jesus’ life was characterized by an unhurried style of living. Yet he accomplished much. In fact, he accomplished every task he was given by the Father, but he didn’t rush to get it all done. He lived a simple, purposeful, unhurried life. Does that describe your life or my life?
Do any of these words describe your day-to-day life: Busy. . . Over-committed. . . Fast-paced. . . Stressful
Sound familiar? And doesn’t all this perpetuate a life of worry and anxiety?
THE EXAMPLE OF JESUS
Let’s just take one quick look at a day in the life of Jesus. Matthew 9 tells the story of an important man, Jairus, asking Jesus to come to his house because his daughter was dying. As Jesus was heading to Jairus’ home, a woman from the crowd who had suffered from bleeding for 12 years touched his robe. Jesus, without rushing, immediately stops to engage the woman and heal her. “Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well” (Matt. 9:22). Only then does he continue on to Jairus’ home where we learn his daughter has now died. “Don’t worry,” Jesus tells them, “She is not dead, only sleeping.” Then Jesus takes her hand and tells her to arise.
How would you have responded to Jairus? “Sure, Jairus, I’ll go with you because I don’t have anything else to do.” How would you have responded to the woman? She was clearly another interruption. And even if I handled the situation well, I would be consumed with worry over what I should be doing (you know, my to-do list). I know my answer, and it’s not something to brag about.
What was Jesus’ secret? How did he live an unhurried life that seemed to welcome interruption (a stark contrast for most of us)?
The simple and powerful secret to Jesus’ unhurried life was his closeness to our heavenly Father.
A VIBRANT RELATIONSHIP WITH OUR FATHER IS KEY
As with any relationship, there are some key ingredients that go into making it a valuable one. You must spend one-on-one time with the person in order to know them, and there must be mutual love between you and them. It was because of Jesus’ love for his Father and vice versa that he was able to accept the Father’s will for his life as his own will. Surrendered completely!
If you’ve ever doubted God’s love for you, let the truth of God’s Word speak to your heart: “In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins” 1 John 4:10. And John 3:16 reiterates this.
So how do we fall deeply in love with God? We do this by spending one-on-one time with him just like in any relationship.
In reading his Word, we come to learn not only who God is, but his character and his will for our lives. His Word is where he reveals himself to us. But we must be willing to invest in the relationship. How much time do you spend each day getting to know the Father and his will for your life?
Jesus clearly knew the Father. In fact, Jesus tells us he came from the Father (John 8:42). Jesus’ knowledge of the Father didn’t keep him from continuing to spend intentional time with him. We consistently see Jesus prayerfully seeking the Father. From Matthew we see some key times when Jesus drew away to be alone in secret with the Father:
- In grief, after the death of his cousin, John the Baptist (14:13)
- In exhaustion, after a full day of ministry (14:23)
- In anguish, when he cried out in to the Father in prayer before his pending arrest, death (26:39, 42, 44)
We know that Jesus prayed and we see in Matthew 6 that he gives instructions for where and how we are to pray—in secret (6:6) and according to the model prayer he gives in 6:9–13.
The secret to an unhurried (unworried) life, therefore, is a relationship with the One who has given us life, loved us unconditionally, and promises to never let us go. I certainly don’t do this perfectly, but I can tell you that my best days are the days that start with one-on-one time with my Father in my secret place.
I want to challenge us to examine our lives. Where can we grow our relationship with the Father? Will you identify one change that you are going to make and then ask him to help you? He is faithful and will do this because he desires to spend time in secret with his beloved.
Denise has served as the Director of Women’s Life and Assistant Professor at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, where she taught graduate courses in ministry to women. Prior to serving at Southeastern, Denise was a student there and earned both her MA in Biblical Counseling and Doctor of Education. Currently, she serves as Director of Counseling Development. Denise and her husband Rod have been married 46 years and have two married daughters and six grandchildren.