I was in Panama City Beach, Fla., the first time a saw a car with a set of spinning rims. At first I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me. The car was stopped but it looked like the wheels were still moving.
I recently saw an ad for spinning rims that read: “Pick up a set of spinning rims, bolt them on your car rims, and be the talk of the town. Spinning rims are simply a stunning add-on to your car, truck, or SUV. A handful of select individuals have this product. Join this elite group.”
Spinning rims are a sign of the times. We live in a society that values motion and speed. Speed is important in industry. Cost is reduced and profits rise when products can be produced with speed.
Speed is a major factor in sports. I cannot even think of a sport where slowness is valued. A selling point for Internet services is the speed at which they can deliver information to one’s computer.
The majority of our restaurants stay in business because they meet the customers’ demand that meals be served within a short period of time. Airlines that experience more than average delays greatly diminish their marketing ability because people do not like to wait or have their schedules altered.
Life is fast-paced. It has become like one long moving sidewalk. We seem to be in constant motion. Even when we sit still we feel like we are in motion. We often discover that when our bodies cease moving, our minds continue to stay in motion. We toss and turn through the night.
Our minds take us through exhausting dreams. We awake but we aren’t rested. Day in and day out, this kind of pattern takes its toll on our minds, our bodies, and our spirits. If we are in constant motion, we can become physically sick, emotionally fragile, socially irritable, mentally deficient, and spiritually bankrupt.
The country music band <Alabama is about to embark on the last leg of their American Farewell Tour which is scheduled to conclude on Nov. 13 in Trenton, N.J. In one of their latest hits, “I’m in a Hurry,” they question this American trait of ours to stay in a hurry.
The group sings: “I hear a voice/ It says I’m running behind/I better pick up my pace/It’s a race/ and there ain’t no room for someone in second place.” Then the chorus: “I’m in a hurry to get things done/(oh,) I rush and rush until life’s no fun/All I really gotta do is live and die/But, I’m in a hurry and don’t know why.”
The Psalmist said, “Come, behold the works of the LORD, how he has wrought desolations in the earth. He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; he breaks the bow, and shatters the spear, he burns the chariots with fire! “Be still, and know that I am God. I am exalted among the nations; I am exalted in the earth!” The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge” (Ps 46:8-11).
The passage tells us that unless we pause and focus our hearts and minds on God, we will fail to see what God is doing around us. We will not understand what God desires to do within us. We will fail to acknowledge God’s power and His sovereignty over us and this world.
John’s Gospel tells us at the height of Jesus’ popularity, when he “perceived that they were about to come and take Him by force to make Him king, He departed again to the mountain by Himself alone” (Jn 6:15).
Jesus could have easily gotten caught up in urgency of the people, with their desire to be freed from Roman rule, with their desire to see the Kingdom of God as it was in the days of King David.
Yet Jesus maintained a proper balance and perspective by withdrawing to the mountains. There he left the fast pace of his ministry, slowing down long enough to get completely still. From the mountain of solitude, Jesus could see the big picture more clearly so when he came down from the mountain he knew which direction to walk.
The ad I quoted is simply wrong. Those who buy spinners are not in an elite group; and it’s not people whose lives are in constant motion who belong to an elite group, either.
Many people allow their lives to become so packed with busyness–even with good and important things–that there is no time left for God. When their lives spin out of control, they are left dazed and confused.
The elite group is not the one that stays in constant motion. The group that God blesses is the one that finds time to be still and to ponder the Lord’s call and direction.
Every day we decide whether we are going to stay motion all day or whether we will make time to be still and connect with God. One group will be blessed. The other group will reflect a society that values motion even when it takes us nowhere.
Michael Helms is pastor of Trinity Baptist Church in Moultrie, Ga. A version of this column appears in The Moultrie Observer.