Smell The Roses

Someone commented on how the shelter-in-place” mandate during the coronavirus pandemic had actually given them opportunity to catch up on reading and do some of the other things that tend to get lost in the hustle and bustle of daily life. Has this happened to you? Have you noticed some side benefits to our enforced slowdown – more family time, chores done, communications with others, Bible reading? I dare say all of us can find a silver lining in the black cloud of coronavirus.

Now here’s the real question: When the restrictions ease up, are we going to remember these life lessons? Or are we going to be like the NASCAR racer who idles around the track under caution but stomps the pedal to the metal when the green flag waves?

The free enterprise and work ethic of our society is good for economic prosperity, and the emphasis on individual achievement creates a competitive environment that spurs education, hard work and sacrifice. These, combined with darker elements of peer pressure, material accumulation, overblown parental duty and other factors create a vortex of self-imposed expectations that suck us in to the rat race. Tremendous pressure bears upon us by such verbs as run, go, do, work, meet, play, travel, see, mow, cook, clean, eat, shop, surf, visit, exercise.

But let’s try a different set of verbs: stroll, rest, pray, meditate, study, read, talk, listen, worship.

No one lived in a bigger maelstrom than Jesus: three years of intense work to establish Himself as God’s ultimate prophet and redeemer; to confront the misguided elites of His generation; to bring real hope and healing to the suffering. At times He was too busy to eat (Mark 3:20; 6:31). On one occasion He kept a boat nearby as an escape craft from the multitudes (Mark 3:9). In Capernaum He was jostled like a celebrity in a mosh pit (Luke 8:45).

Yet Jesus befriended Mary, Martha and Lazarus (Luke 10:38-42; John 11:1-3). He accepted invitations to feasts, even when they were intended to challenge or entrap Him (Luke 7:36ff; 14:1ff). He singled out Zacchaeus as His host (Luke 19:5). He had conversations with Nicodemus, the Samaritan woman at the well, the Syro-Phoenician woman, the rich ruler, the various people He healed, etc. Jesus walked the line between crushing responsibility to the masses and personal time with friends and disciples.

So what are some life-lesson bullet points from our imposed quarantine?

  • When the crisis passes, remember what it taught you.
  • Leisure isn’t always laziness. Sometimes you’ve got to stop and smell the roses.
  • Busier doesn’t always mean better.
  • Control your schedule, or your schedule will control you.
  • Each day has 24 hours; learning to use them efficiently is the key.
  • The greatest gift you can give you children is God, and a close second is you.
  • Friendships are like gardens – they must be cultivated.