We tend to look at commuting as a necessary evil. It’s the gap in between the important and meaningful parts of our life where we get stuff done.
Our approach, therefore, is to do everything we can to remain productive and get the most out of our travel time.
But looking at Christ gives us a very different view about how he approached commuting.
In this episode, we take a look at the differences between the way Jesus commuted and how we travel today. We’ll also look at a few practical ways that we could view our travelling as a blessing and commute like Jesus.
Feel free to add to the discussion below the transcript:
Photo Credit: Justin Cozart (Creative Commons)
Welcome to the Life of a Steward Christian Time Management Podcast. From Biblical instruction to systems and tips to motivation and inspiration, we look at time management from a Christian perspective. We want to make the most of our time, not to make much of us but to make much of him. Not to earn anything but because he’s already earned it. Join me as we seek together to live the Life of a Steward.
In this episode, we’ll examine our modern views towards travelling and commuting. While we view it as an unwelcome intrusion into our life, scripture tells us that Christ had a very different mindset. We’ll unpack the concept further and talk about some practical ways that we can commute like Christ.
Thanks for Listening
Hello. This is Loren Pinilis from Life of a Steward.com. And welcome to another episode of the Life of a Steward Christian Time Management podcast.
I hope you’re doing well. I don’t know if you’re listening to this right after I upload this or whether you’re listening a decade from now. But wherever you are, whenever you’re listening to this – I hope it’s beneficial and gives you something to think about.
Travel Time is Unavoidable
I wanted to talk today about an issue that many would say plagues our society. And that is the curse that is commuting. I know people who commute nearly two hours to work – and that’s one way. I know mothers who spend a half an hour driving their kid to school and then half an hour driving home only to turn around and do the exact same thing in the afternoon – two hours every day on the road.
Then there are people who use mass transit to travel back and forth to work, and the time they spend commuting is just as unbelievable.
Most people don’t have that drastic a commute, but nearly everyone spends some time commuting around town. I work from home, so my commute to work is walking downstairs, but I’m still travelling around running errands and going to meetings almost every day.
Commuting is an undeniable, inescapable part of our life.
Jesus’s Approach during a Busy Day
So I want to highlight today the way that Jesus approached travelling and commuting. I said earlier that we look at commuting as a curse in our society. But I don’t think Jesus viewed it that way.
In Matthew 14 and Mark 6, we see Jesus and his disciples facing this incredibly draining and emotional time. Jesus has just found out about the death of John the Baptist. Right around this time the disciples are coming back from their trips around the area, and they’re busy telling Jesus about what they’ve done and all that they’ve preached – and the scriptures say that they didn’t even the leisure to eat.
So Jesus said, “Let’s get in a boat and let’s go to a desolate place – a place out in the wildnerness away from civilization where we can have some peace and quiet.”
But things didn’t work out that way. The crowds of people see Jesus on this boat and they follow along on the shore, so that they’re waiting for Jesus when they arrive.
And what does Jesus do? He starts immediately healing the sick. He starts teaching for hours. And then when it was evening time, Jesus takes a few loaves and fishes and feeds 5,000 people.
The Rest of a Commute
Jesus, who one moment was saying to his disciples “Let’s get out of here, let’s take a break. We need to rest.” – he turns around a little later and is incredibly active teaching and healing when he lands on shore.
It just seems like Jesus was a little refreshed when he landed. He still was tired, I’m sure, but it seems like the very act of travelling on the boat allowed Jesus to rest a little.
You can see this also in Matthew 8. Jesus falls asleep in the boat and the disciples wake him up because there’s a storm and they’re afraid for their life – but my point here is that Jesus saw his commute time here as a time to rest.
Commuting in a boat, just like commuting in a car, puts you in an isolated bubble. There are no crowds around. You’re not particularly physically active. There’s really not a lot to think about – at least for most of us who drive the same route to work every single day.
Commute time can be a refuge. A peaceful sanctuary, if you will, where we can – in a very real way – be apart from the hustle and bustle of our days.
Our View Is So Different
But we often don’t think of travel time in that way. We feel that travel time is not something to be enjoyed – it is something to be minimized.
In our society, we think of commuting as downtime – and downtime is a bad thing. Travelling is the necessary evil in between the parts of our life that are important.
So we despise our travel time. We become incredibly anxious to get from point A to point B. But Jesus doesn’t seem to view commuting in that way. He seems to take it in stride – to him, it appears to be just part of the ebb and flow of life. He doesn’t want to stay in the boat when he should get out, but he welcomes the chance to rest and relax during his commute time.
How Most People React to Commute Time
Another thing we do is we also come up with all sorts of ways to try and make the most of our commute – to try and make travel time more useful, to make it more practical, to make it more utilitarian.
A lot of time management experts will say to listen to educational materials while you’re commuting. This goes back to people talking about listening to cassette tapes in your car – back in the stone age.
Another thing: I’ve heard people recommend using your commute time as a time to call people back and make all your necessary phone calls.
And I’m not opposed to using our commute like that. I happen to listen to podcasts pretty often while I travel, so I don’t have a problem with that. It’s just the attitude that comes with it.
Is it a desperate clawing and scratching to get every last bit of productivity from our travel time? Or – and here’s the difference – do we view our commute as a curse or a potential blessing?
Ways to Commute Like Christ
So let me spell out some ways that I think we can take advantage of our commute time as a time of rest – to commute like Christ.
Before I list the activities, I wanted to talk about music. Listening to music is probably what 99% of people do anyway when they commute, so you’re probably thinking wow this is not helpful at all – but hear me out.
Music serves not really as an activity in and of itself, but more as a flavor for the other activities to follow. It helps set the environment for the other activities, and there aren’t really a lot of ways that you can do that when travelling – but music is a very powerful way to establish a mood. Feel free to use it or not use it as you see fit to undergird the rest of these practices.
- The first way to take advantage of our travel time is to pray. Use your commute time as a chance just to pour out your heart before God, thank him, praise him.
- A second way is to look around you and notice nature. Play some inspiring music and just be more attentive to the clouds, the trees. Take some time to notice the beauty around you. There’s something about noticing things like this that relaxes you and gives you perspective.
- A third restful use of your commute is to notice other people. Oftentimes when I’m struggling or going through a rough patch, I’ll try to look at the people in the cars that I pass.
I think to myself: How many of them just found out their spouse is leaving? How many of them have children who are disabled? How many of them have been unemployed for two years? How many of them are cancer survivors?
- A fourth way is to cultivate relationships. I can imagine that Christ had some good conversations with his disciples when they were huddled together on a boat. We can do the same with our families and friends today. Don’t just crank up the radio and drive mindlessly – take some time to talk. And, as long as you can be safe, give a call to people you haven’t spoken to in a while.
- A fifth way – and this goes so far – is just to think deeply. For some reason, just like things come to me in the shower, things often come to me when I’m driving. Whether it’s an idea for a blog post or a good illustration to use in my next lesson I’m teaching. That chance to get in some really good thinking time is a good and relaxing use of our commute.
- A sixth way is, probably what a lot of people think of off the bat, and that is to listen to educational materials. If you’re listening to this podcast, you probably listen to others. There are tons of good podcasts, audiobooks, sermons, seminars – all sorts of wonderful materials to listen to.
- Now for the seventh one – this may not work for you – it does for me. Take a cup of coffee with you, or a smoothie, or some tea, or some hot chocolate, or soda, or a cool glass of water. Just sip on a drink of some sort. Obviously this takes a little planning to have a drink there – but to me, the slow process of sipping on a drink and really enjoying it – that relaxes me.
And then I think about how much Christ loves them – these nameless people I’ll probably never see again. It helps me to feel part of the world. To remember that this world is much bigger than my successes and my trials.
What Works for You?
There are probably lots of other ways of using your commute time as a welcome relaxation session instead of just the nuisance of getting from point A to point B. Maybe these ideas I mentioned give you some ideas of your own.
The basic idea is to enjoy the good gifts that God has given us and to just be intentional in our thought during this time. Avoid tuning out. I’ve had times where I arrive at my destination and I can’t remember the trip. Don’t do that. Be present. Be thoughtful.
The next time when you find you’re in your little bubble of travel time – isolated from the world – I hope you’ll remember some of these strategies. It’s amazing how just something simple for a few minutes a day can really change your day and your life. The next time you’ve got some travel time on your hands, I hope you can think of it as a hidden blessing.
If you have any other tips on ways that you like to take advantage of your commute – any other ideas that want you to share – add to the discussion at Life of a Steward.com. If you have any questions you’d like me to answer on the podcast, just Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Until next time, this is Loren Pinilis from Lifeofasteward.com.
Remember: We want to make the most of our time, not to make much of us but to make much of him. Not to earn anything but because he’s already earned it. Join me next time where we’ll look at more time management tips from a Christian perspective as we seek together to live the Life of a Steward.
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