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 Sermon illustrations

 

Slowing Down

Praising Slowness

In our culture slow is a pejorative. When somebody has a low IQ, we dub him or her slow. When the service at a restaurant is lousy, we call it slow. When a movie is boring, again, we complain that it’s slow. Case in point, Merriam-Webster: “mentally dull: stupid: naturally inert or sluggish: lacking in readiness, promptness, or willingness.”[i]

The message is clear: slow is bad; fast is good.

But in the upside-down kingdom, our value system is turned on its head: hurry is of the devil; slow is of Jesus, because Jesus is what love looks like in flesh and blood.

Adapted from The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry: How to Stay Emotionally Healthy and Spiritually Alive in the Chaos of the Modern World. Copyright © 2019 by John Mark Comer. Used by permission of WaterBrook, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC

[i] Merriam-Webster Dictionary, s.v. “slow.”

Lessons in Slowing Down: Grapes and A Ford Model-T

As I thought about this unique eating experience, I remembered an event that happened when I was home on Christmas break in college. My friend’s father had recently purchased a Ford Model-T. If you’ve never heard of the Model-T, it is widely considered the first affordable car ever produced, enjoying a production run from October 1, 1908 to May 26, 1927. Now, as you might imagine, one does not purchase a Model-T nowadays for its speed. In fact, the top speed for the Model T is about 40 mph, though on that December day when my friend invited me to ride in theirs, I would say we never went above 15 mph. What’s the connection to grapes? During that slow ride I noticed things about the neighborhood I had never noticed before. 

When you are moving through the neighborhood a little more slowly, it gives you the ability to appreciate your surroundings. The beauty of my neighborhood was revealed to me by riding in a Model-T in a way that riding in our newer, faster car never could. Not because our Volkswagen wouldn’t go that speed, but because I never thought there was any reason drive slower. Our lives are a lot like aren’t they? We go at a certain speed that keeps us from being able to appreciate our surroundings. Perhaps we all need some grapes with seeds in them, or a ride in a classic car that moves at walking speed.

Stuart Strachan Jr.

Slowing Down with Ten Kids

Susanne Wesley, wife of Pastor Samuel Wesley, lived in the late 1600’s and early 1700’s

She gave birth to nineteen children, ten survived.

Everyday she would take her Bible to her favorite chair and throw her apron up over her head and sit their for two hours.

All the children knew to respect that moment—under that apron she was alone with God and was not to be disturbed.

There, in that tent of meeting, in that place of silence and solitude, Susanne Wesley interceded for her husband and her children and plumbed the depths of the mysteries of God.

Did it pay off?

Her son Charles Wesley wrote 6,500 Christian hymns many of which are sung today.

Another son, John Wesley, founded the Methodist Church, with 80 million members world-wide today, not to mention the holiness churches like the church of the Nazrene and the Pentecostal churches like the Assemblies of God that sprung from the methodist churches.

Jerry Orf

 

Waiting For Their Souls To Catch Up With Their Bodies

The story goes like this: It’s the height of British colonialism. An English traveler lands in Africa, intent on a rapid journey into the jungle. He charters some local porters to carry his supplies. After an exhausting day of travel, all on foot, and a fitful night’s sleep, he gets up to continue the journey. But the porters refuse. Exasperated, he begins to cajole, bribe, plead, but nothing works. They will not move an inch. Naturally, he asks why.

Answer? They are waiting “for their souls to catch up with their bodies.”

Lettie Cowman, in her telling of this story, wrote,

This whirling rushing life which so many of us live does for us what that first march did for those poor jungle tribesmen. The difference: they knew what they needed to restore life’s balance; too often we do not.[i]

Adapted from The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry: How to Stay Emotionally Healthy and Spiritually Alive in the Chaos of the Modern World. Copyright © 2019 by John Mark Comer. Used by permission of WaterBrook, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC

See also Illustrations on Busyness, Rest, SabbathSleep