Lingering is hard to do. I don’t know about you, but I live by my calendar and my life is pretty scheduled. There’s isn’t much time for lingering these days, even the weekends don’t seem to afford much. Where did lingering go?
Lingering means to stay in a place longer than necessary because of a reluctance to leave; to dwell in contemplation, thought or enjoyment.
This morning my sweet dog, Sadie, lingered by my side while I worked on my computer. She laid waiting to be petted. She lingered longer than usual as she normally moves on after a few minutes. This morning she just stayed, her eyes closed, savoring the moment. She lingered.
Maybe lingering is frowned upon. Maybe we can’t justify lingering, after all, we should have things to do, places to go and people to see. If we don’t, we might be considered lazy or unproductive. Performance driven cultures don’t leave room for lingering.
As I think about those who followed Jesus, I am pretty sure they lingered. Mary of Bethany sat at Jesus’ feet during a diner party and lingered. The woman at the well lingered, in the midst of her chores. Levi, the tax collector left his office during his work day. He lingered with Jesus. A bunch of people from Judea and Jerusalem…came to hear Jesus and be healed. They lingered. The disciples followed closely. They lingered. Mary, the mother of Jesus, and John stayed at the foot of the cross. They suffered while they lingered.
Things happen when we linger with Jesus. We can’t help but be different. Scripture tells us that some experienced healing, some freedom from demons and oppression, some regained sight and hearing, some were set free from sin, and some were united to Jesus in suffering, all because of lingering.
The disciples learned who Jesus was by lingering. They learned about one other. They learned about themselves. They learned about relationship. They learned about faithfulness and trust. They learned about boldness and courage. They learned about sacrifice. And finally, they learned about their calling – to be fishers of men.
Lingering has a flip side. Sometimes we linger because it allows us to procrastinate. That’s avoidance and that’s not good for us. Lingering is for soaking in, not escaping.
This Lenten season, I want to linger with Jesus. If I can’t find time to linger in my schedule, those seasons of life happen, I need to remember to bring Him along. I don’t think He’ll mind. I would like to linger a little longer, and maybe things will happen, and maybe I’ll be a bit more reluctant to leave.