Mark S. Mitchell

Pastor, Writer, Follower of Jesus

Ruthlessly Eliminate Hurry


In an article in Leadership Journal, John Ortberg tells about a time he asked Dallas Willard how to be spiritually healthy in the midst of a demanding schedule. After a long pause, Willard said, “You must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life.”

After another long pause, John responded a little impatiently, “Okay, I’ve written that one down. That’s a good one. Now what else is there?” John wanted to cram as much spiritual wisdom into a short phone call.

After another long pause, Willard said, “There is nothing else. You must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life.”

Hmmm. I’ve thought about this a lot. I’m a task oriented kind of guy. I live in an area where the pace of life is notoriously fast. I serve in a church that moves pretty fast as well. Eliminating hurry from my life isn’t easy. But the more I’ve tried to do this, the more benefits I’ve seen in my walk with God and my relationship with others. Slowing down allows me to pay attention to God in the present moment. It allows me to be fully present for those people I am with or happen upon. Eliminating hurry doesn’t necessarily mean I do less. I can have a lot to do on the outside but remain unhurried on the inside.

I like what John writes about this: “If you want to follow someone, you can’t go faster than the one who is leading; following Jesus cannot be done at a sprint. Jesus was often busy but he was never hurried. Being busy is an outer condition; being hurried is a sickness of the soul. Jesus never went about the busyness of his ministry in a way that severed the life-giving connection between himself and his Father. He never did it in a way that interfered with his ability to give love when that was what was called for. He observed a regular rhythm of withdrawal from activity, for solitude and prayer. He ruthlessly eliminated hurry from his life.”

Read John Ortberg’s article in its entirety.

4 thoughts on “Ruthlessly Eliminate Hurry

  1. How fascinating! This past week I’ve been contemplating about how I hurry on about my tasks. and realizing that I don’t recall reading that our Lord Jesus was ever in a hurry. Just the opposite, such as when He was told about Lazarus dying, He was in no hurry to go to him. In fact, He stayed another 2 days where He was before going to Bethany. I want to be cognizant when I’m rushing and consciously slow down, at least when it’s in my control. However, there are times when it is not.

  2. Thank you, Sal. That’s a great insight about Jesus and Lazarus!

  3. Great post Mark!


    CENTRAL PENINSULA CHURCH FOSTER CITY | 650.349.1132 facebook: cpcfostercity | twitter: @nealbenson blog: The Benson Journey

  4. Mark:
    That is a great word. Thanks so much for that. I’ve been in a hurry for most of the past 30 years. In fact, I’ve been in a hurry since I was a small boy. My parents used to chide me because I would eat my cereal with one leg sticking out, ready to run. I can see the wisdom in this and hope to put it into practice.

    If you ever find yourself down in the San Jose area and want to grab lunch or a cup of coffee, etc. please let me know.

    Bob Gundert

    PS You may recall that John Wooden used to tell his players “Be quick, but don’t hurry.”

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