God on Monday
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.
Edwin Friedman, an ordained rabbi, coined the term a ‘non-anxious presence’. He used it to describe someone who can stand firm amidst chaos and confusion.
Every day seems to bring a new crisis: disrupted supply chains, public health threats, conflict, inflation, and climate change.
My business explores digital solutions to such challenges. However, technology is also part of the problem. We may be shielded from the worst effects of global catastrophes, yet many of us are experiencing internal crises in our mental and emotional health.
These crises can be exacerbated through our ‘always online’ culture that is fuelled by social media. In the UK, a record 420,000 children and young people per month are being treated for mental health problems – a rise of over fifty percent since February 2020.
Jesus’s instructions are clear: ‘Do not be afraid’. What strikes me are his preceding words: ‘I do not give to you as the world gives’. This is not a business transaction, where something is provided for a fee. Jesus’ promise comes from a desire for a relationship. He is calling us to stop being anxious and to rest in his presence. We can learn from this that some of the greatest weapons we have in these times of upheaval are spiritual formation practices such as silence, solitude, and Sabbath.
In Mark Sayers’ new book, he borrows a military concept, the ‘gray zone’, which is used to describe conflicts without clearly definable endpoints. This scenario characterizes much contemporary work. We find ourselves having to navigate rapid cultural, relational, commercial, and technological change that demands new ways of working and a lot of uncertainty.
In this environment, we can draw encouragement from Sayers: ‘For those who have found themselves overrun by the sheer pace of change over the last five years…we follow an unchanging God, who is advancing His kingdom in this gray zone moment.’
How have the last few years impacted our sense of peace? What is our response to Jesus’s command: ‘Do not be afraid’? What spiritual habits can we develop this week to help us experience more of his peace?
Jesus, thank you for your unconditional gift of peace. Help me to trust in your unfailing love. Give me comfort as I face the storms in my life. Be with me today and remind me of your faithfulness. Show me how I can model your peace to those in my sphere of influence.
See Mark Sayers, A Non-Anxious Presence: How a Changing and Complex World will Create a Remnant of Renewed Christian Leaders.
See also a talk by John Marc Comer at The Vineyard National Leaders’ Conference 2020, entitled ‘Becoming a non-Anxious Presence, available here.
Ravi Gidoomal, Business owner (EDGE Digital Manufacturing).
God on Monday is produced in partnership with the Church of England. The reflections are based on the scriptural readings designated for the coming Sunday in the Church's lectionary. You can sign up to Faith in Business here to receive each God on Monday instalment.
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