Do you ever go for a leisurely walk? It’s a great idea to get out, relax and enjoy fresh air, warm sun, and the beauty of nature. But me? Not so much. I have a hard time finding time to be leisurely about anything.
When I walk it’s for a purpose.
Even walking the dogs is at a brisk pace because I view it as exercise. So we walk as fast as possible. My poor dogs! Often they try to stop and smell the roses. It’s more like trying to stop and smell the neighborhood dog markings on the roses, but I have to give them an “A” for effort. They’ll scamper up ahead so they have a few seconds of “smell time” before I catch up and pull them along. I always say the same thing to them, “Come on, we’re walking!” Obviously my view of an ideal walk is different than theirs.
As I toured Israel a couple of weeks ago, we did a lot of fast walking. We were always trying to stay ahead of the crowds. We were on and off the buses as quickly as possible and heading to our premier spot at each location. At one point I even ran ahead with our leader past another large group so the two of us could claim the territory we wanted by the Temple Mount wall. We got the spot, and all the rushing paid off. But rushing is not always worth it. When we’re constantly running, pushing and working in overdrive, we’re missing out on meaningful time spent with others along the way. And we’re wearing ourselves out.
Jesus walked everywhere He went. And He never rushed.
I was amazed to see place after place along the path of Jesus’ ministry in northern Israel. We went by bus, but He went on foot. Jesus and His disciples walked throughout Galilee, up and back from Jerusalem, and even into Samaria. But never once did He rush to get somewhere. In fact, several times He sent His disciples ahead and, instead of pushing an agenda, He went away to a quiet place to pray and spend time with God before continuing on.
Jesus was famous. He had crowds of people to teach and feed. He had sick people coming from all over to be healed. He had disciples to mentor and friends to encourage. He had family to love and lead, even when they doubted Him. He had more miles to walk during His 3 year ministry than many of us will walk in our lifetime.
And yet, Jesus never rushed. He never ran ahead. He never said, “I don’t have time for you right now.”
Jesus lived His life intentionally. He lived His life fully-engaged in every moment with the people He was with right then. Not dwelling on yesterday’s happenings. Not distracted by the next day’s challenges.
Not running or walking fast to make up time.
Today, Jesus says, “I am with you” (Matthew 28:20). What if we tried, for just one day, to live in the moment? To walk with Jesus at His pace. To interact with others along the way with Jesus by our side. To let Him choose our path. To let Him direct our words. To let Him be the focus of our day as we allow His love to fill us and flow out to others.
Walking a determined yet unrushed pace with Jesus shouldn’t be reserved for Sundays. It’s not something that should be a hassle or something we need to prepare for. It’s something we learn to do each day.
How? By learning to let go of our packed agenda. By stopping and hitting pause so we’re not rushing or running. By walking with Jesus as we take time to smell the sweet roses of life along the path of our day.
Come on, we’re walking! But today, we’re walking an unhurried walk with Jesus. Let’s follow Him and see what happens.
“As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, He saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. ‘Come, follow Me,’ Jesus said.” Mark 1:16-17
May I pray?
Lord, most of us are rushing most of the time. Even if we have free time, we’re often using that time to catch up on reading or errands or exercise. It’s hard to find relaxed time to spend with those we love, including You. Jesus, please help us to pause here for a few moments to think about what it would be like to walk by Your side today. May we focus our thoughts on You, listen for Your voice, and walk peacefully and unrushed through our day, loving others along the way. Amen.
Q4U: Do you ever go for a leisurely walk?