“…through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” – Romans 12:2.

Loneliness affects a huge number of people in a variety of ways resulting in a host of emotions, frustrations and circumstances. The person living next door to us may be in an extended season of deep loneliness. The immediate reaction is, well, it’s because they have no friends. Maybe they have few friends because they are awkward in social gatherings. There can be a rush to judgment.  Sometimes I pretend I don’t have time. All the tasks on my to-do list are incredibly important. I’m too busy to pay attention to their loneliness, answer that email. Too busy to help my neighbor. I’ve got a meeting. I’ve got to get that deal done.  Let’s face it, my life is pretty hectic.

Then there’s Jesus. When you study the life of Jesus, you never see Him rushing. He was busy, really busy, but He didn’t rush. Even when the end of his life drew closer, Jesus had time for other people’s problems. An example is found in Matthew 20.

Jesus was a man on a mission. He was going to save the world and had little time left. But even as He begins His final week of His life on earth, He does not rush. In fact, He stops to help two beggars. As Jesus and the disciples left the town of Jericho, a large crowd followed behind. Two blind men were sitting beside the road. When they heard that Jesus was coming that way, they began shouting, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!” “Be quiet!” the crowd yelled at them. But they only shouted louder, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!” When Jesus heard them, he stopped and called, “What do you want me to do for you?” “Lord,” they said, “we want to see!” Jesus felt sorry for them and touched their eyes. Instantly they could see! Then they followed him.” (Matthew 20:29-34)

There are numerous other examples of taking time for people. Jesus was and is never too busy for the broken, too hurried for the harried, or too occupied to extend His hand to help others. Nothing prevents him from loving us. If Jesus never rushed, then why should we? He lives in me and is working through me and surely He doesn’t need my rushing to accomplish His eternal purpose.

The psalmist too reminds us: “Be still, and know that I am God…!”(Psalm 46:10). We need to do just that. We need to slow down, to take notice and to respond to the people God places in our lives. 

Discussion Questions

  1. If you could summarize the meaning of rushing into one sentence, what would it be?
  2. How do we develop the ability to slow down? How do we develop the ability to see beyond ourselves?
  3. Can you think of examples from the scripture of how Jesus prioritized his life around the mission field? Time, conversations, leadership, friendships, etc.
  4. What can we do this week to be a better neighbor?