December 14, 2011


Life is swirling by like swallows desperately trying to catch the last insects before winter brings everything to a near standstill. Lights flash, cars speed, people rush—and in the midst of it all we find ourselves, trying to live authentic lives that do not move to the familiar rhythm of higher, bigger, better, faster, and grander.
At the end of a busy year I long for solitude. Not the silence of death, nor the quiet before the storm—I am looking for solitude: the moment that I can, for an instant (or a little bit longer!), stop thinking about productivity and output and editorials and articles and authors. I yearn for the solitude of Jesus looking into my eyes and inviting me to “come aside . . . and rest” (Mark 6:31, NKJV).*
Adventists all over the world, like anybody else, are driven by an increasingly louder choir of voices that tell us to keep moving. Every Sabbath there is an invitation to step outside this stream of endless activities and rest. However, more often than not, we are also keeping busy on that special day with Jesus. We serve as teachers, deacons, elders, preachers, fellowship-lunch coordinators, greeters, drivers (parents understand me!), and whatnots, and are driven by schedules and special events. Don’t get me wrong: serving in a local congregation is part of being a disciple. And yet I catch myself in the same mental mode of “doing” instead of “listening” and “receiving.”
This is not a problem of 2011. Long ago Mary and Martha prototyped two different approaches to serving Jesus. Neither is exclusive (we do need our Marthas), but one is given preference by the Master: “Mary has chosen that good part” (Luke 10:42, NKJV)—time spent sitting at the feet of Jesus.
I need to find that place and that time as well—what about you?
* Texts credited to NKJV are from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Gerald A. Klingbeil is an associate editor of the Adventist Review. This article was published December 15, 2011.