The Cheat Code of Quietness: Reflections on Ecclesiastes 4:6

I grew up a hip hop fan. Who am I kidding? I’m still a hip hop fan. One thing that I grew up admiring about hip hop apart from the lyrics and art form itself was the story of the grind behind the music. I loved hearing about P Diddy building a multi million dollar company while only getting 4 hours of sleep per day. I remember being in parties, rapping Yo Gotti’s lyrics to the top of my lungs as a college student, “real hustlers don’t need no sleep!!!”

In his classic 1994 song, “New York State of Mind” Nas boasts “I never sleep, cause sleep is the cousin of death.” Now at the age of 33, and a burnout or two later I humbly rebuttal Nas’s lyrics by replying, “not sleeping is the cousin of death.”

But to Nas’s credit, being overly invested in one’s work is not native to hip hop culture. We all do it. Its common to go so deep into your bag of tools or box of gadgets that you tip over and fall into that box. Many a man and woman has drowned or almost drowned in a sea of emails only to be pulled out gasping for oxygen.

But what other options do you have when you must meet deadlines, surpass quotas, and pay BILLS? We can’t forget about the bills can we. Those 3 things alone have applied pressure to a workers conscience for centuries.

Enter the digital Information age and now you have deadlines, quotas, BILLS, likes, follows, and the pressure to keep up with everyone’s highlight reel on your instafeed.

How do you keep up?

In a world that is moving faster than the speed of your social media timeline, the temptation for most of us is to do more and more and more to keep up. Push until you can’t push anymore and hopefully something good will happen. Then there’s the reality that somebody’s out there working harder right? If you don’t work yourself to the bone then someone out there is willing to. And remember…YOU GOT BILLS!

What if there was a better way? A cheat code perhaps.

I believe that we do have just the cheat code and it is called Sabbath rest.

If you are not familiar with the Creation story located within the Ancient Jewish Scriptures, God created the earth in a matter of 6 days but then rested on 7th day. God himself took a day off from his work. He reflected upon his work and declared that it was good.

But let’s get back to the fact that he rested. If the creator rested then his creation certainly must rest. I don’t know about you, but my job is not more important than creating the universe.

“It is a sign forever between me and the people of Israel that in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested and was refreshed.’””

Exodus 31:17 ESV

Though a day off is definitely what the doctor ordered, there are other rhythms of rest to apply to your calendar. We all need weekly rest, daily times of quiet, and extended times of rest (aka vacations).

My guess is that you already knew that. If you are anything like me, you might be under the illusion that you don’t have time to rest. People need you. You are important. What you do is important. Plus, your colleagues aren’t resting, workaholism is celebrated at your place of employment, and P Diddy built a multi millionaire juggernaut off of 4 hours of sleep per night. 🤷🏾‍♂️

Our creator gives us a better option than keeping up in the rat race.

Ecclesiastes 4:6 says, “Better is a handful of quietness than two hands full of toil and a striving after wind.”

Did you catch that?

The wise writer of Ecclesiastes says that 1 handful of quietness is “better.” Specifically it is a better than two hands full of anxious work and striving. In a world where anxiety and depression rates are soaring, this ancient text is timely, appropriate, and befitting.

Do you believe that it is to your benefit to take both hands off of your work in order to receive a handful of rest from your creator? Will you allow yourself some time to take both hands off? Not one hand off and another hand on your phone.

I know that taking both hands off is hard, but it’s the cheat code. But how?

1. It’s the cheat code to more meaningful time with those you love and care about. They want that time with you. Time is a nonrenewable resource. You can’t get it back once it’s gone.

2. It’s the cheat code to more originality and creativity. Burning the candle at both ends isn’t the recipe for a creative mind. You need time away to dream, reflect, and look at the ideas from a different angle.

3. It’s the cheat code for more energy. You’re human. You need sleep.

4. Daily mediation and quietness is the cheat code for more peace. You need quiet time to untangle your thoughts and silence all of the voices.

5. It’s the cheat code for more productivity. The trees, flowers, and grass take a break in the winter in order to come back strong and more productive in the spring. We have a lot to learn from trees.

Believe it or not, quietness is the cheat code in this modern era. In a world where everyone is busy keeping up, you are pulling away to rest and recharge. The end result is more peace, creativity, energy, and meaningful relationships with those who you love. Both hands up. 🙌🏽