How often are you hitting the Pause button in your journey?
AUGUST 28, 2023
Matt Heard: How often are you hitting the Pause button in your journey? Why don’t we talk about it, on Key Life.
This is Key Life. We’re here to let you know that because of what Jesus has done, God will never be angry at you again. Steve invited our friend Matt Heard to do the teaching this week. Matt is a speaker, teacher, writer, pastor, coach, and the founder of a ministry called Thrive.
Matt Heard: Thank you Matthew. I hope you guys all had a great week-end and I know the summer is winding down and we’re going to actually be talking about moving into the busyness of this next season. But before we do, as we start this week, why don’t we take a few moments wherever you are and acknowledge who the real teacher is here. And believe it or not, the real teacher is not me or Steve or any of our other voices. It’s Jesus. That’s me clarifying my gift of being obvious and how grateful we are that He’s the one that teaches us. So, let’s pray. Jesus, thank you, thank you for the day that we’re in the midst of, the fact that you were the author and the finisher of not only the day, but our lives, the ebbs and flows, the zigs and zags. And all of us are in very different places, but you’re bringing us together through this technology to speak into our lives, including mine. And, I thank you. I thank you that you’re going to say something to us during this week. And we’re listening. And we’re confidently listening because we’re asking you to speak, knowing that your word is truth, that your Spirit is involved in our lives, and that you’re king. And it’s in your name, I pray. Amen. Well, as this summer does begin to wind down and we begin to pick up the speed. I brought up this issue of pause button and people think I don’t have time to hit a pause button now. I didn’t even hit it during the summer when I was supposed to. I’ve got too many things going on now. And you know, this season is a time in which I’m pretty excited about being able to look over in the corner of my office. And there’s something that was given to me as a gift because of some speaking that I did and some mentoring that I did years ago. It’s a harpoon. It’s a classic harpoon modeled after the great whaling industry of the 19th century. And the reason that I have that up in my office, is to remind me of something that Herman Melville said in his classic Moby Dick. Now, I mean, there are several quotes that I love in Moby Dick. And one of them is.
Water and meditation are wedded forever.
He says that early on. And I always think about that when I’m taking some time by a lake or an ocean. But the reason that the harpoon is significant to me is because of chapter 62 in Moby Dick. I think you know the story. If you don’t, we’re going to all pray that you get a life and that you catch up with literature from 200 years ago and one of the classics of American literature, but chapter 62 is entitled The Dart. And by the dart, that’s whaling industry lingo for the harpoon. And Melville actually impacted the whaling industry with an observation that he made about how inefficient the harpoon throwing was. I mean, he starts that chapter saying.
According to the invariable usage of the fishery, the whale boat pushes off from the ship with a headsman or whale killer as temporary steersman and the harpooner or whale fastener pulling the foremost oar, the one known as the harpoon oar.
He goes on to describe, okay, this is what would happen. You know, the large ship would go out chasing the whales and then you would have the small harpooner boats that would go out. And it’s the ones that you see in classic paintings that are getting demolished by the whales or that they’re going after the whale. Well, you have oarsmen in those boats. And the harpooner was one of the oarsmen, when they would finally catch up, the whale that they were chasing, the harpooner would put down his oar and pick up the harpoon. The problem was the efficiency rate, the hit rate, their different estimates, but it was probably 30% maybe, they would miss way more often than they hit. And the reason Melville says is because of the weariness. And so, he gave some counsel and he said.
In the vast majority of failures in the fishery, it has not by any means been so much the speed of the whale as the before described exhaustion of the harpooner that has caused them.
And then he says this.
To ensure the greatest efficiency in the dart, the harpooners of this world must start to their feet from out of idleness and not from out of toil.
I love that. He says, hey, if you’re really going to throw your harpoon well, you need to do it from a context of stillness. During this week, we’re going to spend some time at the feet of Jesus. We’re going to call this, this week, Calibrate: Sitting at the Feet of Jesus. And the passage that we’re going to refer to each day is from Luke chapter 10: verse 38.
As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. And she had a sister called Mary who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, Lord, don’t you care that my sister’s left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me. Martha, Martha, the Lord answered, you’re worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed or indeed only one and Mary has chosen what is better and it will not be taken away from her.
We need to sit at the feet of Jesus and we need to do that regularly. Just to calibrate, you know, long ago, in that same period of history of maritime history, you would have ships that would have to go into quiet harbors to calibrate their compasses. And what Jesus is affirming in Mary, now he’s not denouncing Martha and the ideal is to have Martha and Mary about us and have that task oriented of Martha, but have that quietness, that stillness of Mary. But most of us are far better on the Martha end of the spectrum than we are the Mary end of the spectrum. So, we’re going to take some time and let Mary teach us about hitting that pause button. I think most of us say, I don’t have time to hit a pause button, I’m so busy. Well, that’s what Jesus is affirming that Mary could be distracted by many things, but she’s made a choice. It’s what Melville is talking about with the harpooner to throw that harpoon, not out of weariness, but out of idleness. We all have, when he says idleness, he’s not using that negatively. He’s talking about being still and throwing from a piece of strength and whatever your harpoon is, it might be your career, your relationships, might be recreation, all the different things that we’re doing during the day, those are harpoons and it’s a powerful moment when we begin to realize the discipline of stillness. And that’s what we’re going to look at today. And I want you to be thinking about it as you go through the day. How still am I being in my journey, to be still with Jesus. And I don’t care how busy we are. I think it was Martin Luther who said,
I’ve got so much to do today, I had to spend the first three hours in prayer.
Well, that makes me feel guilty right off the bat, but the point he’s making there is we’ve got to be still if we’re going to throw our harpoon. And Jesus modeled this. You know, Mark 1:35. Very early in the morning while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place where he prayed. Now Jesus is spending a lot of time doing a lot of things, but he maintained if there’s anybody that could have afforded not to have the discipline of stillness in his life, it would have been Jesus, but he said, I’m going to be still. And so, four disciplines that we’ll look at this week and today really just is the foundation. It’s that discipline of stillness. There’s a Chinese pictograph for busy and it has two characters that are combined. One is for heart. And the other is for, it means by itself, one of the characters means heart, the other one by itself means to lose or to disappear, to perish or flee. And you put them together and that Chinese pictograph of busyness means to perish your heart, to lose your heart, to have no heart, how’s your heart doing? And so often busyness strangles our heart and something else that does, it’s not just busyness, but panic. You know, one of my favorite passages in Psalms is Psalm 46. And we all know Psalm 46: verse 10 that says.
Be still. Be still and know that I’m God and I’ll be exalted among the nations and I’ll be exalted in the earth.
I don’t, I think we forget the context of that. The context, if you look earlier in Psalm 46, that the mountains are quaking, they’re falling into the sea, chaos is going on. In the midst of the very moment when I think I cannot be still, whether it’s busyness or whether it’s stress or a combination of those, that is the time to be still and to know that He’s enough, that His grace is enough, and His truth is enough, and that His love is enough, and that He’s got this. So, be still today. And as a result, I hope you thrive today.
Thank you Matt. That was our good friend Matt Heard and if you enjoyed his teaching today, like I did, great news, he’ll be with us all this week, continuing to discuss this idea of calibrating our lives by sitting at the feet of Jesus. Hope you will join us. Hey, did you know that there’s a wrong way to read the Bible? It’s true. In fact, it happened to a guy named Nicodemus. Davis Johnson explores this concept in an article called, Practice Doesn’t Make Perfect. You’ll find that article in the new digital edition of Key Life Magazine. It comes out every summer and this latest issue also features articles from Steve, Alex Early, and even me. Crazy. Check that out for free at keylife.org/magazines and if you haven’t read our 2023 print magazine yet, that’s a whole different lineup of articles. It’s not too late to claim your copy. Just call us at 1-800-KEY-LIFE that’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also e-mail [email protected] to ask for the magazine, to mail your request, go to keylife.org/contact to find our mailing addresses. Again, just ask for your free copy of Key Life Magazine. And finally, a question. Do you value the work of Key Life? If so, would you consider supporting that work through your giving? You could charge a gift on your credit card or include a gift in your envelope. Or just pick up your phone and text Key Life to 28950. And of course, if you can’t give, listen, we get it. But if you would, please do pray for us, would you? Needed and appreciated. Key Life is a member of ECFA in the States and CCCC in Canada. And Key Life is a listener supported production of Key Life Network.