Quiet In The Land
With Martha Kilpatrick and hosted by John Enslow
(M) This morning I’m on the word quiet. As I realize so often when I am away from my life or in other arena’s, how disturbing it is to be in the noise that is typical of the world. And someone… The reason I’m on this is someone was praying psalm 35 for me. And it’s about warfare really. It’s about, “They devise deceitful words against those who are quiet in the land”.
(J) Which verse is that?
(M) It’s Psalm 35 verse 20, “Let those who hate me without cause”, “Nor let those who hate me without cause, maliciously, for they do not speak peace.” There’s a phrase, “speak peace”.
(J) Hmhmm, hmhmm.
(M) “But they devise deceitful words against those who are quiet in the land.” And I’m aware that our quiet is a way of life. Tell me about you, because noise disturbs you, words and words and words. You were speaking this morning about the bombardment of words.
(J) I just feel like the world currently is so filled with noise; it’s not knowledge, it’s noise. And there’s such a difference in noise and knowledge. You know, knowledge is Christ, really, but the rest of this just feels like so much noise. And I know that, you know, people that have been around with us for a while, know about my whole aversion to music for a season. And there’s… I have such a complete aversion to the endless bombardment of words. And to my own shame almost, I have really resisted even a lot of reading because it just… I feel like, if I was honest I feel like I’m mentally raped with the words. It’s just an onslaught, and I feel like I’m being bombarded and violated. And I’ve probably gone to the far off pendulum swing of it, in that I’ve just said ‘phbbitt’, I’m not reading, period. But uhmm, even good writing seems extreme right now. And that’s one thing I really appreciate about your writings, is that they’re succinct, and that they’re distilled down to essence of focus and of Christ. They’re saying ‘look here’, and you’re not giving four paragraphs to describe one sentence. You’re giving five to seven words to give a concept that Christ can develop in you.
(M) Oh, that’s encouraging, because that is my goal that the Holy Spirit can be trusted to flesh out for the reader the application in his own life.
(J) I mean do you see the bombardment? Do you see Psalm 35, do you see in your personal life the bombardment of words against the peace that God has instilled in you?
(M) Oh yes, absolutely, and that’s sort of a unique quality of our group. We live quiet lives. I’m going to read from 1Thess. 4, it’s 7, in verse 7 Paul is mentioning purity, and then 8 and 9 he speaks of love. Then he says verse 10, “You are expressing and displaying your love, but we beseech and earnestly exhort you, brethren, that you excel in this matter more and more, to make it your ambition, and definitely endeavor to live quietly and peacefully, to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we charged you.” Now that verse is not often taught, because ambition is for acclaim, not quiet. But in the Spirit the ambition becomes for quiet, so that your life… Really the Holy Spirit moves and works within an ordinary life experience. So if you don’t live an ordinary life, doing menial things, you’re going to miss the Spirit. And he says, “So you may bear yourselves becomingly and be correct and honorable and command the respect of the outside world, being dependent on nobody, self-supporting and having need of nothing.” This seems to be a theme of Paul in the letters to the Thessalonians. They must have had a lot of laziness. But actually in 2 Thessalonians 3, he says, “Imitate our example, for we were not disorderly or shirking of duty when we were with you, we were not idle. Nor did we eat anyone’s bread without paying for it, but with toil and struggle we worked day and night, that we might not be a burden to anyone.” And he goes on to say, “If anyone among you does not work he shall not eat.” He advises separation from those who do not work. And I believe that if God ever liberates you from working to support yourself, if He ever liberates you from that, it is to liberate you to a greater measure of work. I don’t believe in an idle life. I’ve never, since I’ve known the Lord I’ve not believed in ‘retirement’. I am at the age when it is natural to slow down, and I believe God is accelerating, that’s the word. (Martha laughs)
(J) Ramping you up.
(M) Yeah, He’s getting me ready for more, more strength and performance. But I want to talk about this quiet life, John, because you have to come to love it, you have to come to live it. And you come to it really almost instinctively by the Spirit. My first two years with the Lord were lived in complete solitude really. I didn’t have anyone really to share it with, in terms of the church. And so, when you came to us sixteen years ago, it was for the purpose to disciple you for the mission field and to support you. We didn’t know we were going to be the mission field, the missionary outreach. But God called you into solitude for a year, and then a second year. And there were people who envied that.
(M) Oh ‘gee’, I wish I didn’t have to work. You were supported graciously by a small group of people quite willingly. And you went into almost an isolation at that time. And even to this day, I had someone this week wish she could have those, that time. And you never said it was easy and lovely.
(M) It was very difficult to get quiet. And I can look back now, in this context, and say God called you to come down from the chaos of the normal, charismatic Christian world you’d been in, the noise that was there. Am I right?
(M) And He called you away from that to simplicity and to rest, a deep rest, and to be supported. But the thing I’ve realized is that during that time you were not idle at all.
(M) You were doing intense spiritual work of the light in your life, shinning and exposing things that you had to work hard to come through. You lived… At that time we had no idea of where we were going in terms of books and ministry, we had no vision of that. So we’d have to go back and understand where you were at that time.
(M) He didn’t even let you meet with us in our meetings. And, but at that time I had a little black and white lap top that someone had given me. And I don’t remember why, but I gave it to you.
(M) And you never returned it, (Martha laughs) because you were working to learn computer skills. You spent a lot of time on the phone with technicians. You learned the computer. We had no idea what that was for, it was just an interest of yours you’d had from childhood. So you were not idle, sitting there twiddling your thumbs and indulging yourself in any way. You were building the foundation of this ministry, though we did not know that. You were instinctively doing the work that He set aside for you to do. He didn’t set you aside to be idle, He set you aside to rest, that’s different. You did spend some time in resting, but you were working. That was one thing you worked on. The second thing you worked on was learning to garden. You had some knowledge of houseplants, but you had to learn how to garden organically, and you did it, with a lot of hard work in the soil. You had land by a little pond, and so the soil was very poor and rocky. And so you learned how to garden successfully.
(M) And I laugh every time I think about that because I advised you to take your dirt on the truck and move it to the mountains. It was so silly of me, but you had invested so much in your soil, and then you did it. But you did it. There we went down the highway with your lot of soil. (Martha’s laughing)
(J) Looking like the “Beverly Hillbilly’s”, hmhmm, going through downtown Atlanta.
(M) But never the less, you did follow me in gardening. And I do know that we were created to work. We were created for responsibility. We were not created to be in la-la land with nothing to do. Meaning of this life is in both physical and spiritual work. And as I’ve been kind of laid low these last few months I have learned how much I love to work, and how much I have missed it, and how excited I am to begin to be back able to work, especially in my garden. But the point is, everybody who envied you believed it was total irresponsibility, and how wonderful that would be. We really… The old man hates the responsibility of work.
(J) Well if you think about it, I also was doing the shepherding of a dog and chickens and ducks, remember?
(M) Oh yes, you were, you were laying foundation in those two years of the work that you now do in much greater measure. It’s astounding to me how perfectly the Holy Spirit was leading you, and how not idle you were. It seemed to you, as a man who had a business, and had to work every day, it seemed terribly idle to you, but it was not idle. You did learn about chickens, and we now, you know, have chickens. And you’re the one who understands. And you were studying all that time. You got your first dog that belonged to you, and he was a big responsibility. So those two… I want to dispel the myth, since people seem to be aware and remember your two years of solitude; I want to dispel the myth that it was an idle time. My daughter took that scripture I read in First Thessalonians, as her life calling, study to live a quiet life, to work with your hands, so you have something to give, so you aren’t dependent on anyone. And I just so respect her because she works very hard. She has three teenagers. She and her husband have three businesses, and she maintains an amazing degree of non-chaos, non-confusion.
(J) Hmhmm, hmhmm.
(M) She keeps her house in order without help. And, and they all, all the family works. It’s enormously wonderful life. And people, it says in there, it says in that scripture that people will admire and respect you for it, and they do. People comment to her all the time, “I don’t know how you do it”. But that is her, that is her life calling. And in that quiet way of life… hers is busy, but it’s quiet busy.
(M) It’s not the loudness of T.V. dominating the house. It’s not the loudness of any of that, it’s just, its very quiet. And I see that the Holy Spirit, if you follow the Holy Spirit He will bring you into a quiet life. If you follow your ambitions it will be louder and louder and more chaotic more chaotic. So… But there’s so much in the Bible about quiet. In Isaiah it speaks of the millennium and the whole world is at rest and quiet. And certainly not now, it’s getting louder and louder, it seems to me.
(J) There’s an onslaught of noise. I mean it’s an onslaught.
(M) An attack.
(J) An attack, hmhmm.
(M) And in the book of Timothy we’re called to pray for those in authority, you know why?
(M) That we may live a tranquil and quiet life. Now I never got that really together, that we’re not just to pray for them to be wise, we’re to pray for them to be wise so that believer’s can live a tranquil and quiet life.
(J) Well, when you get the sheep running, and you get them scattered and running and frantic, there’s no peace, and there’s no fruit, and there’s no produce. It’s all destructive.
(J) And so, that would make sense to pray for your leaders, that you could live that still, quiet life.
(M) So the shepherd has to be a quiet person.
(J) If you have a loud shepherd screaming and yelling, it will literally transfer onto the sheep, and they will feel the effects of it, and you will see the effects of it on them. They’ll be more susceptible to parasites, they’ll be more, they’ll be nervous, they’ll be… they probably will break their limbs because they’ll be on edge, and they’ll dart off, and which makes them more susceptible to everything, predator.
(M) Wow. That’s, that’s very clear. So our Lord, as He deals with us, deals with us in quiet for the most part. Not always, but He is… If we really get under Him, “Come unto Me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” I’m thinking also of the chickens, that we have had to tell children that come to the farm, “Do not chase the chickens”.
(M) Even chickens can be, become frightened of any human being that comes in the door. Because we don’t allow that, when anyone of us goes to the door, they’re all there to meet us, crowding at the door.
(J) Yeah, you usually have to push them with your feet to get away from you.
(M) They see you as someone bringing provision. And the best thing to do is bring some food scraps or weeds in there for them to eat while you’re…
(J) And then they’re ready for it.
(M) Yeah they are, they expect it. But they don’t have any fear of you, so we can’t let children go in and have fun making them upset. (Martha laughs) So, even our chickens have to be quiet.