The Power Of Pause

Series: Fruit Of The Spirit

Link to sermon video: The Power Of Pause - T Siverd


Sermon By Terry Siverd / June 04, 2023 / Cortland  Church of Christ  - -


In this series on The Fruit Of The Spirit we are attempting to articulate, to put into words

some of the significant qualities that contribute to the full make up of being a genuine Christian.


The source of this inquiry calls for a focus on the life of Jesus.

Last year we did an extensive study of Christology - - in particular, examining the human side of Jesus' incarnation. 

Jesus is our ultimate role model.  The essence of being a Christian is in its simplest form a quest to be Christ-like.

In his first epistle, the apostle John says it so eloquently and plainly  (1Jn.2:6) - -

the one who says he abides in Him ought himself walk in the same manner as He walked.

Our primary resource documents then are the four gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John).


The New Testament epistles are also rich in instruction as they flesh out how the apostles and early disciples

attempted to cultivate the mind of Christ (1Cor.2:16) and/or to adopt the aroma of Christ (2Cor.2:14f).

This is a variation of the apostle Paul's dual exhortations:  to put off the old and put on the new (Col.3:5-17).

In Gal.5:22-23a, Paul delineates the fruit of the Spirit as: 

love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

He then summarizes saying, If we live by the Spirit, let us walk by the Spirit (Gal.5:25).

If we are going to claim to be one of Jesus' followers we must speak and act in keeping with the spirit of Christ.


One of the most intriguing passages one encounters in the gospel accounts is found in Lk.5:15-16 - -

The news about (Jesus) was spreading even farther, and great multitudes were gathering to hear Him

and to be healed of their sicknesses.  But He Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray.


When we think of Jesus we frequently think of a very BUSY Man. 

Surely His ministry, which only spanned some 3½ years would have been chocked full of non-stop activities.

But here in Dr. Luke's gospel we read that He often slipped away (Lk.5:16).

This is not a case of Jesus suffering from agoraphobia (fear of crowds).  Instead this is a picture of a Jesus,

who although He was about His Father's business (Lk.2:49/KJV), was not too busy to slow down.

His Father's business did not necessitate a life consumed and overwhelmed with busyness.

This argument could be bolstered by noting that Jesus did not begin His preaching ministry until He was thirty.

Why the delay?  What was He waiting for?  Couldn't He have hurried things along?


 Arthur Gordon tells the story of a time when he was on a cruise liner bound for Europe.

In passing the hours reading he came across a quote from Robert Louis Stevenson:

“Extreme busyness, whether at school, kirk or market, is A SYMPTOM OF DEFICIENT VITALITY.”

His first impulse was that this was a mistake, a misquote - - surely he thought RLS meant to say ABUNDANT vitality.

But in continuing his reading, Gordon observed that Stevenson augmented his words saying, 

“It is no good speaking to such folk: they can't be idle, their nature is not generous enough.”

cf. A Touch Of Wonder by Arthur Gordon, pg.190.


This morning I want to speak about the power in purposeful pausing.

This may sound like heresy to some of you, but I believe there is virtue in “slowing down”.

For many of us our days are crammed full of things that must be done.

And we've even convinced ourselves that there is an upside to living our days with never an idle moment.


I'm here today to tell us that this is not the Jesus way.

Paul Simon wrote a song that was popular when I was young.  It was titled, “Slip Siding Away”.

Basically it was a sonnet about the tragedy of refusing to live in the now.


What Luke records about Jesus was not a unique occurrence in the life of Jesus.

The NASV adds to the text to say that Jesus would often slip away.

The word “often” is not actually in the immediate text, but it is certainly there in the broader context.

  On multiple occasions Luke notes that Jesus withdrew.

The focus of His withdrawal appears to be to engage in praying to His Father.  cf. Lk.6:12;  9:18 & 28.


Furthermore, the teaching style and content of Jesus seems to emphasis a more relaxed approach to life.

His was a peripatetic ministry (walking from place to place, teaching as he and His disciples strolled along).

I do not think it is accurate to envision a Jesus who “raced” from town to town.

Someone has noted, “Where there is no time for quiet, there is no time for the soul to grow.”

The man who walks through the countryside sees much more than the man who runs.


When Jeannie and I slipped away for a few days to celebrate our recent anniversary, I was desirous

of charting a course of “deliberate aimlessness” (go with the flow).  Actually, one doesn't “chart” aimlessness. 

It was my intention to relax, to slow down, to stop and smell the roses, to have a leisurely withdrawal.

One day we went up and down a four-mile side road twice slowly soaking it all in (four miles four times),  


I admire people who love to fish, especially those who savor doing so alone, without having to keep time.

There's something about that “sport” that I transcends the life that I have lived. 


Perhaps deliberate aimlessness is not exactly what I'm trying to promote.

As a rule, I'm not for living aimlessly.  Life has a grander design than living aimlessly.

But there is something to be said for some occasional time off … disengaging and disconnecting.


It's my hope that this morning's exhortation is not misunderstood.

Jesus once befuddled His critics (Mk.2:27), declaring the Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath.

  I am hoping to expand on the topic of “the Sabbath” in a future lesson.


“To be sure, pausing can be overdone.  Lying in bed that extra five minutes is delightful; an extra hour might be not

only dull but disastrous.  Sooner or later most of us have to get up, go to the office, or get the children off to

school, attend to the endless mechanics of living.  But we will do these things better if we have the emotional

balance and the controlled energy that come from deliberate slowing of the pace.”  (A Touch Of Wonder, p.192).


Participating in purposeful pausing nurtures our inner being.

One of Paul's fruits of the Spirit is faithfulness.

Faithfulness requires steadfastness which needs some downtime to replenish and re-calibrate.


The apostle Peter includes perseverance in his list of virtues (2Pet.1:5f).

Perseverance necessitate preservation and conservation.

Over the ages we've all encountered that saying, “It's better to wear out than rust out.”

In truth, there's a third option - - doing some ongoing maintenance so that we neither wear out nor rust out.

Intentional leisure (purposeful pause) is a lubricant that helps us manage life over the long haul.

We could even assign it a more biblical name and call it the oil of gladness.

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