Again I saw that under the sun the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to the intelligent, nor favor to those with knowledge, but time and chance happen to them all.
You must understand this, my beloved: let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger;
There are lots of fun details I remember from Gulliver's Travels from many years ago. I remember the land of giants where he was very tiny and the land of Lilliputians where he was very large. But the most memorable to me was the land of the talking horses. They, though wild, were wise. In fact, they had a custom that whenever two of them who were strangers met for the first time, there was a very long silence before either spoke, as to make a good impression and to be intentional in their words. We should all be so wise.
Recently, I began to make coffee using a kettle, a coffee bean grinder, and a French press. It now takes me nearly 10 minutes to make coffee instead of 3 or 4. It seemed to take so much more time and energy at first, but on reflection, the time is not significant, and the result is pleasing to me and anyone who shares the fruits of this labor of love.
It goes very much against the grain of our culture to take our time in any endeavor. We value efficiency and speed above quality and intentionality. It's perfectly acceptable to ask how one is doing without expecting a real answer. However, it is confusing to our brothers and sisters from Africa and Asia especially to learn this through experience. These are places where perhaps not coincidentally, both the practices of slow preparation of coffee and tea, and of real care and concern in greeting one another and inquiring how one is doing are still practiced. Maybe, we could learn something from them.
Maybe, we too, can slow our lives by a few minutes or moments to the benefit of our relationships with those in our lives and the strangers we encounter. Maybe love is just the time and space we carve from our days and give to others.
Prayer for Today
Lord, we have carved this time from our day to speak with you, knowing you will meet us in every moment we call. Help us to slow down, to seek to be generous and intentional in our time devoted to others and their needs, so we may be known as people who love. Send your spirit to soften our hearts to the awareness of the needs of time and care around us. In the name of your son, whose ministry was time spent with those in need, we pray. Amen.