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      Nurturing people in the image of God since 1868.                                                                          POB 397/520 Dry Creek Rd./Smithville, TN

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Keeping it Together by Coming Apart

Have you heard about the snail who was beaten up by two turtles? His friends wanted revenge, so they asked, "Did you get a good look at the turtles who did this?" The snail answered, "No. It all happened so fast." Life is happening fast. Hurry characterizes our culture. We want to be holy, but "hectic" is the adjective that better describes the frantic, frenzied, furious pace of many people's lives. Since fast-food is not fast enough for some, many fast-food restaurants have added express lanes. Telephones have "speed dialing." The, bank has a  "drive-through window and  an ATM for those too hurried to go inside. "Multi-tasking" is a relatively new word in our vocabulary. These days people -can (and do) eat, listen to a book, read a map or newspaper, apply make-up, talk on the phone, and drive all at the same time. It is getting harder and harder to "get away from it all" because e-mail and wire, es' phones and fax-machines and pagers and other electronic gadgets are enabling "it" to follow or fax or call or contact us anywhere we go, 24/7/365. Many people don't just live life in the fast lane anymore - life is the fast lane, with no rest areas or regular exits where they can pull off and take a break. In an article entitled, "Life in the Fast Lane" (February, 2000 Reader's Digest, p 65), James Gleick wrote: "As time-use researchers look around, they see a rushing and scurrying everywhere." Gleick then quotes writers John P. Robinson and Geoffrey Godbey, authors of Time for  Life: "Sometimes American culture resembles one big stomped anthill." The habit of being in a hurry even shows up at church. At one church service, the song leader announced, "Today's final hymn will be 'Take Time to be Holy.' In the interest of time, we will sing only the first and last verses."

Mark 6:31 gives stressed-out souls a strategy for dealing with life's fast pace. Jesus invited the twelve apostles, after a brief but intense period of missionary activity, "Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while. For there were many coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat." Jesus recognized a truth we all need to grasp - a lifestyle of sustained hurry and non-stop stress is not good for the body or the soul. The Son of God was 2000 years ahead of modem medicine in recognizing that the way to keep it together is by coming apart. Recognizing our need for renewal, God calls to us: "Be still, and know that I am God" (Psalm 46:10). Vance Havner said, "If Christians do not come apart and rest awhile, they may just plain come apart." Coming apart with Jesus can help us keep our lives together.

Dan Gulley
Smithville church of Christ