By Jordan Villanueva
This article was originally posted on https://jordanvillanueva.org/
Lately, I’ve been walking through John Mark Comer’s book The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry. This is my first work to read from JMC. I have found it to be counter cultural and extremely beneficial for my own spiritual formation. I have to be very selective on which books that I get to walk through during my breaks from my PhD because it is rare for me to be able to actually pick a book that I want to read on my own.
JMC’s work walks through his experience of slowing down in life and taking time to truly experience sabbath. It was a rather easy & enjoyable read. While reading it, I found myself questing what I always thought was necessary to becoming successful. In fact, my two most used adjectives that I filter everything that I do was under attack while reading this book: EFFECTIVE & EFFICIENT. I always ask myself is this effective and is this efficient. If the answer is no, then I don’t do it.
The most effective argument that JMC had towards my lifestyle of productivity was how he helped me realize a misunderstanding I always had of the past. I was always under the assumption that those who have gone before us, like the heroes of the faith such as Augustine, Aquinas, and Jonathan Edwards, were the most efficient people in history. When you read about how these individuals would wake up each morning at the crack of dawn or even before then to get a start to their day, well, I just assumed I needed to as well in order to make the most of my time. JMC referenced one of the mantras that many of us live by, “I’ll sleep when I’m dead”. However, JMC points out that while yes, these individuals woke up early in the morning, however they went to bed earlier than we do today. He goes on to explain the shift that took place in society’s internal clock with the creation of electricity. Prior to electricity, light was limited to candles and oil lanterns. Therefore, those of the past had to make the most of the daylight. So, as soon as it got dark, or not too long after, those efficient and effective heroes of the past were fast asleep. In other words, these heroes did not operate on the limited amount of sleep that some of us put ourselves through. They had their 8-10 hours of rest each night because they were in bed by 7, 8, or 9pm each night.
This enlightenment that JMC revealed for me helped me rethink how I have been approaching productivity. I guess this is something I should have always thought through. Because Scripture is clear that we are to experience sabbath. As Jesus says in Matthew 11:28-30, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”