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Love at 3 Miles an Hour

“Love has its speed. It is a spiritual speed. It is a different kind of speed from the technological speed to which we are accustomed. It goes on in the depth of our life, whether we notice or not, at three miles an hour. It is the speed we walk and therefore the speed the love of God walks.” — Kosuke Koyama, Three Mile an Hour God: Biblical Reflections

If you’ve been following my journey, you know that God has my soul moving slower these days. For the past several months, I have battled a mystery illness marked by episodes of extreme fatigue and lightheadedness that have greatly altered just about everything. 

My eating is different, as I have eliminated everything processed for a strict autoimmune protocol diet.

My routines are different, as I have had to trade my almost daily jogs for much milder forms of activity for the moment. 


Most of all, though, my perspective is different. As God leads me closer everyday back to wholeness, I am becoming increasingly aware of how greatly I allowed the demands of really good things to run my soul into the ground for far too long. Actually, “allowed” is putting it too mildly. If overcommitment and busyness were a parade marching down Main Street in my soul, I was the Grand Marshal brandishing the baton. 

And while I don’t have a lot of answers yet to what I have been facing, I am certain that my well-meaning, but overextended “yes” has been a massive contributor. And it is here that I am perhaps receiving my deepest healing.

In a culture that worships pace and production as the identifiers of  “importance,” Jesus extends a refreshingly different invitation: presence

In a world obsessed with achieving the fruit of significance, Jesus calls us instead to faithfulness. “Fruit,” after all, is HIS department. We are to be faithful to plant the seeds He gives us into the ground and to water them on fields of intimacy. HE brings the harvest. 

Abide in me and you will bear much fruit. Apart from me, you can do (bear) nothing.” John 15:5

“The fruit of (belonging to) the Holy Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” Galatians 5:22

Faithfulness is our Responsibility. Fruit is God’s Responsibility.

It is SO easy to forget this truth and shift…

From Adoration to an Assembly Line

From Intimacy to Industry

From Delight to Deadlines

Every time we choose to chase what we need to DO for God above who we already ARE in Him, we leave a life of abiding for one of ultimately striving. And we miss the glory of truly seeing Jesus is already in the room. 

That’s what happened for the disciples. Throughout Jesus’ ministry, we read at least three different times they argued about which one of them was the most important; the “greatest” in His Kingdom.** Every time, Jesus gave them the same counsel:

“Welcome little children”

“Take the lowest place”

“Be a servant to all”

“Empty yourselves”

“Lay down your life”

This is what it means to be great. But this seed hadn’t yet taken root for them. And so, on the evening of the Last Supper of all times, they found themselves again scurrying to do the important things. One had secured an upper room. Another had made arrangements for all of the elements of their high holy meal. But something crucial had been missed. In ancient eastern culture, there was always someone present at the door to wash the feet of guests entering a home. 

In an age before air conditioning, paved roads, and washing machines, one can only imagine the condition of sandal-laden feet after a full day’s trek through dirt, mud, mire, sweat, and animal feces under the beaming sun. Because of this, foot washing was a task assigned to the lowest household servant. It was a chore so undesirable and insignificant, none of the disciples had remembered to make arrangements.

Now, here they stood at the doorway of the house, with filthy feet and no servant to come low and wash them. And in this moment, none of the men who boasted how greatly they wanted to give their lives for Jesus could envision themselves stooping to the servant’s station. They went in and ate the meal as if nothing was amiss. It was only after the meal that Jesus rose, took a servant’s towel, and showed them the depth of His love. By the way, He did this even as they were arguing about who was the greatest.

On the very night He would be condemned to death, Jesus slowed down to wash the feet of an entire dinner party of self-absorbed sons. As He did, He extended one final invitation to change they way we walk: 

“Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.John 13:14-17

Because of Jesus, we now KNOW these things…and we will be blessed if we do them. Jesus went on to tell us that the way we wash HIS feet is simple: 

“Whatever you do for the least of one of these brothers of mine — the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the sick, the prisoner — you do for me.” Matthew 25:31-46 

We live in a world of weary souls and filthy feet, but we will miss what really matters if we keep running past people in our own obsession to be important. 

“Love bears one another’s burdens,” but we will only ever be able to do that if we first slow down enough to see and feel the weight our neighbors, our kids, our co-workers, and our city are carrying. 

Love moves at 3 mph. 

As John Maxwell has often shared, “Jesus walked slowly through the crowds.” If we wish to be like Him, it’s time to leave our pursuit of industry and to follow.

Some Questions to Reflect On:

  • Are you living by “delight” or “deadlines?” Where is it time for you to take the reins back on your life?

  • Are you giving your best “yes” to the people and things God desires for you? Are there any “really good things” you’re holding that aren’t “God’s things” for you in this season?

  • What are 2 changes you could make this week to slow down and seek what matters most?

** The three passages where the disciples argue about who is the greatest, and Jesus’ response are found in Matthew 20:20-28, Luke 9:46-48, and Luke 22:24. 

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