Be Still By Zenet Maramara
The Gift of Being Still
Be still, cease from striving, rest, relax. Prior to the Corona virus pandemic, these were luxuries we hardly afforded ourselves. We had more work than the actual hours of the day. We were so caught up in the busyness of the life, work demands, expectations, as well as self-imposed pressures. Then the world took a pause.
What was important and urgent, suddenly changed. The everyday normal activities we are so used to, stopped because of the pandemic that halted businesses, shut down churches and schools, locked down cities and countries, stopped travel, and had everyone quarantined at home.
All of a sudden, we had time. We were forced to be still. It may have come as a shock to many, to see and experience the whole world at ease. As I reflected during my 45-day lockdown in a foreign land, I was reminded of the Israelites in exile in Babylon for 70 years. Before the exile, they too, were preoccupied with their lives and have forgotten to heed Yahweh’s call to rest, for themselves, and for the land.
The Jews were supposed to give the land a sabbath rest every seventh year. They were not to sow the field, plant, or prune their vineyard, and give the land a complete rest on the sabbath year. However, in their utter disregard for God’s call to rest, they continued to work the field even during the prescribed sabbath rest.Their exile to Babylon, resulted in a 70-year rest of the land. This present pandemic may last 70 days and not 70 years, but the effect was the same. It stopped us from the frantic pace of our everyday lives and caused us to be still and to stay home. It allowed us to ponder on how work has become the center-focus of our existence.
Our identity is so tied up on what we do, to a point that we forget that our work is not our primary calling. A steward’s first calling is to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. Our work or vocation is secondary. In order to nurture and grow as a disciple of Christ, a steward has to guard his/her mind and heart to be in tuned with God. A steward strives at intimacy with God, because this is his/her highest calling.
Our busy work life sometimes robs us of this intimacy. We begin the day plotting and planning how to fit all the things shouting for our attention. The tyranny of the urgent sometimes robs us of the time needed to spend time alone with God in quietness and stillness. The priority for the steward is to begin the day with communing with God, reading and meditating on His Word, listening to God and where He leads and directs.
This time of lockdown and quarantine, provided us the sacred space that a steward needs in order to set priorities right. Like the Israelites in exile, we are forced to take our Sabbath rest in the Lord. Allow God to set us free from the bondage we bring to ourselves and focus our eyes towards eternity.
Eternity is at our hearts, pressing upon our time-torn lives, warning us with intimations of an astounding destiny, calling us home to itself. Yielding to these persuasions, gladly committing ourselves, utterly, completely, is our true beginning.
~ Thomas Kelly, Celtic Daily Prayer
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