Slow Down & Shut Up!

Jon Burgess

1As you enter the house of God, keep your ears open and your mouth shut. It is evil to make mindless offerings to God. Don’t make rash promises, and don’t be hasty in bringing matters before God. After all, God is in heaven, and you are here on earth. So let your words be few.3Too much activity gives you restless dreams; too many words make you a fool.
Ecclesiastes 5:1-3

King Solomon would receive visitors from around the world to hear his voice expound and expand their thinking through his immense wisdom. At the end of his life, he is done with talking. King Solomon had a calendar full of entertaining, building projects and lots of weddings. At the end of his life, he is done with activities. He had done too much talking and not enough listening and now his heart was far from God. He had done too much working and moving and not enough waiting and seeking and now his heart was weary. From the cynicism of a man who has seen it all and said it all and owned it all he gives some sage advice I could really benefit from: "Slow down and shut up."


T.S. Eliot writes in observation of our culture: "Where shall the world be found, where will the word resound? No here, there is not enough silence." Teresa of Avila once said, "Settle yourself in solitude and you will come upon Him in yourself." At the beginning of this year, the Lord challenged me to pursue a "Quiet Revolution of Humility." God is using King Solomon's words to reveal what this looks like. Choosing solitude over the crowds. Choosing silence over talking. Choosing simplicity over a crowded calendar. In other words, slow down and shut up. I just returned from a vacation where I had the joy of spending time with my family that lives in the Pacific North West. I would never trade those moments for anything. Travel from place to place between Washington and Oregon with five boys was the opposite of what is being described here. That's the season we are in and again, I want to savor every moment of it. However, in order to truly enjoy this season, I must enter the spiritual disciplines of solitude, silence, and humility. No one can do this for me just like no one can exercise for me. Due to some unforeseen leadership transitions taking place this summer and an already crowded calendar this summer will be one of the busiest yet. So, do I cancel everything? No, I do what King Solomon is telling me to do, I slow down and I shut up. It's all about my focus as Richard Foster describes, "A day filled with noise and voices can be a day of silence, if the noises become for us the echo of the presence of God, if the voices are, for us, messages and solicitations of God. When we speak of ourselves and are filled with our ourselves, we leave silence behind. When we repeat the intimate words of God that he has left within us, our silence remains intact." (Celebration of Discipline).


Let my words be few, Jesus I am so in love with you. This is the opposite of how I live and yet is what my heart longs for. Let me enter the disciplines of silence, solitude, and simplicity as I seek Your face now more than ever before.

Devotions for June 07

Ecclesiastes 4,5,6
Psalms 18
Ephesians 3

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