Who would ever have thought that Darren would write a book review? And for fun? The last time I wrote something like that was in ELA or my AP English class back in high school. Actually I’m not sure if you’d find it surprising since I’m writing all these posts about medicine. Anyways, I’m so happy I finished a book; it took me about four months to finish because I’m not a good reader. And this is the first book I likely finished front to end since the days of my reading Harry Potter and Tuesday’s With Morrie. Well, here it goes:
Firstly, this is a good book. It was introduced to me by a girl I went on a date with. She would only respond back to me once a week and I think it was mostly because of this book (just kidding). She was a bit more responsive than that but her explanation was that she tried to “live in the moment” and not be distracted by her phone and things of that nature. A lot of it stemmed from this book by John Mark Comer (I’ll start referring to him has JMC). The first thing that came to mind? You guessed it: Minimalism (look up: Joshua Fields Millburn, Ryan Nicodemus, and Matt D’Avella). The parallel between the ideas of this book and the concept of minimalism is truly amazing. However, the ideas of this book aren’t “new.” JMC derives the “elimination of hurry” from the teachings of Jesus and makes suggestions as to how to model ourselves after Jesus in a practical, modernistic, and shall I say “minimalistic” way (given this is a huge lifestyle cult thing that I’ve also fallen prey to).
There are a several points that are mentioned in the book that I’ll attempt to highlight. We are busy people who think there are not enough hours in the day to do what we need to do. Although I personally do not think we need more hours in the day, I’m sure the vast majority would beg to differ. But I’m guilty when someone asks me “how are you” and I respond “I’ve been busy and I’m tired.” But what are we busy doing? Busyness or hurriedness is apparently a distraction to focusing on Jesus. So in JMC’s words: “How do we slow down, simplify, and live deliberately right in the middle of the chaos of the noisy, fast-paced, urban, digital world we call home? Well, the answer, of course, is easy: follow Jesus.” This leads me to mention one of my favorite sections in the book: The Easy Yoke.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28–30
JMC mentions this verse from the bible as a great invitation from Jesus to all those who are tired, stressed, and burnt out! The yoke we’re talking about isn’t the egg or even the thing we put on oxen for farming. It’s the idiom of shouldering the load. He makes a good point that the unique thing about Jesus’ yoke is that it’s an easy yoke. Rabbis all have a yoke but Jesus’ is easy one. JMC paraphrases that “if you want to experience the life of Jesus, you have to adopt the lifestyle of Jesus.” Now that I think about it, it’s easier said than done. Not quite easy but I get his meaning.
Solitude and Sabbath are two other concepts I loved reading about. The Greek word eremos can be interpreted as solitary place or quiet place. Jesus often went to a solitary place not to be alone but to have quiet time with God, his Father. He did this very often, as it was “an ongoing part of his life rhythm.” It’s awesome because even Jesus, the perfect being and quite literally, God, needed time away from the crowds, his disciples, and friends to recharge and have time alone with God. I love how JMC brings this up and many different times in the bible. His disciples would all be looking for him to probably have fun, go out, or do more miracles but Jesus would be away somewhere thinking and praying. So in seasons of busyness, we should slow down, stop the hurry, and withdraw and be with God.
God also gifted us a tool for this because sometimes we don’t do it for ourselves. The Sabbath. The sabbath for made for us, not us for the sabbath. I think this is a very important distinction to make. It’s a day where we can relax, not do work or errands, and have fun, drink our ethopian coffee and spend time with friends and family. I truly think that God made the sabbath for us to rest. And again, I should emphasize that even God rested when he did his work.
I did notice that I, being a great multi-tasker in the past, have regressed and can only do single-tasks now. Maybe because it’s my attempt to be more deliberate with what I do (which is a what a minimalist does). And JMC writes about this as well: “multitasking is just sleight of hand for switching back and forth between a lot of different tasks so I can do them all poorly in stead of doing one well.” He is so right! Multitasking is a myth! Only God can do multiple things at a time. So what I am willing to do as part of my lifestyle now is doing one. thing. at. a. time — to be fully present to the moment and for all my attention to be consumed by one thing. This is also quite the opposite of hurry.
All-in-all, these were parts of the book that really “sparked joy” in the words of Marie Condo. This book is an easy read that is very practical and encouraged me to want to be an apprentice of Jesus. It makes it easier too since JMC writes pretty frequently about his life of coffee at Heart Coffee Roasters in Portland (he is a pastor based in Portland, OR by the way). If any of you would like to borrow it, feel free to message me!