We have more conveniences and time-saving devices than we have every had. They have not created less work and more rest for us, instead people are doing more work and staying busier than ever. Add in the workouts, the commute, and the kids’ sports, and you have a recipe for a life with no margin. Ken Shigematsu knows this world all too well, as he shares in his book God in My Everything. He lived this life when he was a business man in Tokyo and continued to work long hours as a pastor in Vancouver.
Things transformed for him on a trip to a monastery in Ireland. He began to recognize the value of pausing for prayer, Bible reading, and reflection. To those who would argue that this type of devotion leads away from engagement with the world, Shigematsu reminds readers that the monks often practically demonstrated purposeful, biblical hospitality. His argument is that their monastic engagement caused them to be more ready for ministry in the real world. The result of his trip is that he began to develop what he calls throughout the book a “rule of life.” This is “a rhythm of practices that enables us to live well and grow more like Jesus by helping us experience God in everything.
After explaining the rule of life in the first three chapters, he uses a trellis and a vine to illustrate how the rule of life helps a person enjoy God in everything in life. The roots of the vine are Sabbath, prayer, and Bible reading. He speaks of how these supply the drive and the energy for everything else. Next he discusses relating through friendship, family, and sexuality. He helps the reader understand how to restore through eating, sleeping, exercising, playing, and properly using money. All of this builds a vine that that bears fruit and reaches out. Shigematsu discusses how this happens through our work, justice, and witness.
This book gets a lot right. The average Christian is to busy too slow down and cultivate their spiritual life through prayer and Bible reading. Even we these things are done, they are rarely connected to everyday life. Shigematsu rightly shows these rhythms empower the Christian to enjoy God and bear fruit for him in every area of life. God in My Everything will help overly busy Christians to understand how to slow down and enjoy a life with God at the center of it all.
(I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review of the work.)
(You can read other book reviews and takeaways here.)