Slowing Down before the Holidays

Ecclesiastes 11:8–9

APPOINTMENTS, ACTIVITIES, ASSIGNMENTS . . . demands, decisions, deadlines . . . schedules, services, seminars . . . plans, people, programs . . . STOP!

Sit down and think. Think about your pace. How in the world did you get trapped in the busyness cycle? What is it down inside your boiler room that keeps pouring the coal to your fire? Consider the past three or four months. Has anything significant been accomplished? Probably not, if you’re honest.

Here’s how one of the most effective individuals on the planet summed up this problem:

When people live to be very old, let them rejoice in every day of life. But let them also remember there will be many dark days. Everything still to come is meaningless.

Young people, it’s wonderful to be young! Enjoy every minute of it. Do everything you want to do; take it all in. But remember that you must give an account to God for everything you do.


Busyness drains relationships—especially during the holidays. It substitutes shallow frenzy for deep friendship. It fills a calendar but fractures a family. Many a church brags about its active program—”Something every night of the week . . . for everybody.” With good intentions, the local assembly can create the very atmosphere it was designed to curb. The One who instructed us to “be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 43:10) must be grieved when He witnesses our frantic, compulsive, agitated motions. He must watch us speeding here and there with a heavy sigh.

You’d be wise today to consider carefully the sage advice of Solomon: take stock of your life, your activities, and your priorities. Make certain you are doing what God has called you to do. Leave room in your planning for His “still small voice” (1 Kings 19:12, KJV). Pause and ask Him how He wants you to spend the holiday season soon to be upon you. And remember: without Him, everything else is, well, meaningless. Take your choice, then choose neither. This season . . . this year . . . take time.

Devotional content taken from Good Morning, Lord . . . Can We Talk? by Charles R. Swindoll. Copyright © 2018. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, a division of Tyndale House Ministries. All rights reserved. The full devotional can be purchased at

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Accuracy, clarity, and practicality all describe the Bible-teaching ministry of Charles R. Swindoll. Chuck is the chairman of the board at Insight for Living and the chancellor of Dallas Theological Seminary. Chuck also serves as the senior pastor of Stonebriar Community Church in Frisco, Texas, where he is able to do what he loves most—teach the Bible to willing hearts. His focus on practical Bible application has been heard on the Insight for Living radio broadcast since 1979.