The Lost Art of Lingering

Monday morning I got really angry , I’m talking furiously angry.  The sad part is this came one day after preaching a message from James 1:19-21 on responding to frustrating situations with meekness instead of anger.

So what was it that made me get so worked up less than 24 hours after preaching against anger?  The split screen on my laptop wasn’t working properly while doing sermon prep.

Basically this meant instead of copying and pasting with shortcuts on my keyboard I was forced to (gasp) actually copy and paste using an actual mouse, and click on each application!  The bottom line this added maybe ten-minutes to my sermon prep time which obviously was absolutely unacceptable, so I spent a half-hour trying the fix the problem (and failing).

 The Lord is using this and other experiences to remind me that he fastest way isn’t always necessarily the best

Jimmy Needham wrote a great article on this subject last Thursday called “Learning to Linger in a Spotify World.”  In it he pointed out we as a culture have forgotten what it means to focus on things for an extended period of time (waiting, studying them, and truly listening to what they have to say).  A big part of this is the explosive growth of streaming services

Our age, though, is one of short-form content. We live in a world of bits and bytes, snippets and sermonettes, scores of one-liners—140 characters or less if you please. In the early 2000s, as the capacity for greater bandwidth grew, a new era of audio and video streaming services was born. The internet exploded with on-demand songs and shows. Today, streaming music services are even closing in on iTunes for the lion’s share of the market.

Of course this kind of convenience makes life a lot more comfortable, but it keeps us from lingering or thinking deeply about subjects

It’s natural for us consumers to assume that convenience is progress. Isn’t being more streamlined a good thing? Isn’t it nice to have millions of songs at our fingertips whenever and wherever we want? Perhaps. But at what expense? If easy, cheap access to art causes us to forget how to pause and reflect, ponder and savor, then maybe we’ve gained less than we’ve lost

The thing that hit me most in Jimmy Needam’s article is the belief that convenience or speed is always better than doing a job slowly.  He points out the fallacy of this belief very well.

The best things in life don’t come in an instant but over time, which means we must cultivate the ability to wait, listen, and linger.

In other words we should embrace the habit of doing jobs slowly; evaluating every detail, reflecting on lessons learned, and how we can do better in the future.  This is especially true with things like sermon preparation, or Bible study

Mr. Needam’s article helped me do my sermon prep this morning in the slowest way possible as I lingered over the passage…and I can’t help but think God was Glorified

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