Word of the Week: Contemplation

Maybe more than ever our lives are defined by busyness. Especially at this time of year.

Added to the normal obligations of life, family and work, are gifts to buy. Travel plans to make. Parties to attend, or host. And a myriad of other issues as we wrap up 2022.

So, the concept of contemplation might be a good thing for us to… well…contemplate.

Our culture of busyness makes it difficult to slow down. Relax. And contemplate important life issues. A professor at Loyola University in Chicago, Dr. Al Gini, once offered this insight.

“My point is simple. Even if we love our jobs and find creativity and success in our work, we also need not to work…We need not always be doing. In fact, we must studiously do less, in order to be more.

As a culture whose mythology is steeped in the hard work of our pioneering forebears, though, we just don’t do nothing well. We are not known as a nation of relaxers. We rarely deliberately devote ourselves to idleness. We almost never slow down enough to experience the experience of not doing anything at all.

We rarely attune our inner ear to the needs of our inner self. We usually do too much, and in the doing insulate ourselves from ourselves . It is not our nature to let time pass. Unstructured time makes us all at ease.

As a friend once told me: ’Most of us will take time off, but very few of us want to spend time with only ourselves. It’s too boring and scary. It’s a lot easier to do something and just keep busy…Unfortunately, too many Americans, primarily men, but increasing numbers of women too, only alter their patterns, habits and lifestyles when they absolutely have to. . . Sadly, sometimes we only give ourselves permission to change when we’re confronted by a crisis that we can use as an excuse.”

If the professor’s words hit too close to home, that’s probably a good thing.

To contemplate is to ponder. Consider. And reflect. It is to mentally “chew on” an issue, idea, or concept slowly, deliberately, and thoughtfully.

The Bible often uses the word “meditate,” especially in the Psalms. The Psalmist said this about righteous people. “His delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night” (Ps.1:2).

He further offers these exhortations regarding contemplation on spiritual matters.

  • Meditate on God’s deeds (Ps. 77:12).
  • Find time in the stillness of the night to meditate (Ps.4:4).
  • Meditate on God’s precept and contemplate His ways (Ps. 119:15).
  • Meditate and muse on the works of God (Ps. 143:5).
  • Meditate on the splendor of God’s majesty (Ps. 145:5).
  • Meditate on what is in your heart and the words you speak (Ps. 19:14).

Meditation is difficult for many reasons. One, there is so much noise around us. The TV is blaring in the background. Or music is playing. We can hear people chattering. Or maybe we can hear outside noise from construction, traffic, or someone mowing their lawn. Somehow, find some quiet time to contemplate. Dr. Wayne Dyer advised that everyday you “give yourself a gift of five minutes of contemplation in awe of everything you see around you.”

The Psalmist advised “Be still.” Find a quiet place of uninterrupted reflection. That’s one reason I like writing these posts in the early morning hours. No one is stirring. It’s dark outside. It’s just me. My thoughts. My computer. And God. Well…and also a hot cup of coffee, which may aid contemplation (although that’s not scientifically proven).

Author Rick Warren suggests the most important questions you could ever contemplate are these three:

#1 Why am I alive? The question of existence.

#2 Does my life matter? The question of significance.

#3 What on earth am I here for? The question of purpose.

While there are many self-help books that will seek to explain the meaning of life, none will focus your life better than the Bible. In it you will learn that everything begins with God. “In the beginning, God…” (Gen. 1:1). God is the creator. Of the world. And your life.

The Bible helps us see life from a Divine perspective. Develop values that transcend the earthly and material. And live with a spiritual world view. In short, through both the book of nature and the book of revelation we understand our purpose for being.

“So take the time to think, ”advised Robin S. Sharma. “Discover your real reason for being here and then have the courage to act on it.”

–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman

1 Comment

Filed under Discipleship

One response to “Word of the Week: Contemplation

  1. Pingback: Weekly Recap: December 12-16 | ThePreachersWord

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