Weekly Impact is written for leaders by our former Executive Director, Garth Jestley, who has decades of experience in senior leadership roles in the financial services sector. Each week he will share insights on life, leadership and faith.
In July 1977, we were living in New York City. At about nine o’clock one evening, a power blackout hit the city. At the time, Mary and I were watching a television program. Suddenly everything went dark. A total hush lasting several seconds descended upon Manhattan where we lived. The silence ended as suddenly as it began with shouting in the street below!
If you have ever lived in New York City, you will appreciate the oddity of that silence. We used to jokingly refer to “the New York Philharmonic Orchestra” – a seemingly endless cacophony of sirens blaring, horns honking and people shouting, even late into the evening. Eventually, we became so accustomed to the noise that it disappeared into the background.
We returned to Canada that December. The first night in our new Toronto home, we found ourselves unable to sleep. Lying awake, we were suddenly struck by the silence. The absolute quiet was tangible and stood in sharp contrast to the noise of New York.
As I write this blog, Mary and I are once again visiting our second home in Barbados. From dozens of times in this beautiful Caribbean nation, we agree that one of the greatest benefits is the lack of noise pollution. While Toronto is not up to New York’s noise level (yet), it is certainly noisier (for us anyhow) than Barbados.
“Noise pollution” encompasses everything that distracts, including busyness and the typical temptations that affect everyone.
As followers of Jesus, we understand that His peace and presence are part of our inheritance irrespective of outward circumstances (however noisy they may be). This is true whether we are in Toronto or Barbados. That said, we experience a quietness here that is refreshing. For us, the absence of noise pollution enhances our experience of God’s presence.
To me, “noise pollution” is a broader concept than sound only. It encompasses everything that distracts. This would include busyness and the typical temptations that affect everyone.
For those who are followers of Jesus, these distractions can completely undermine our ability to hear God’s voice and to follow His direction. In the Bible, Jesus refers to these distractions as “the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desire for other things”. While this admonition applies to everyone, it is particularly relevant for those of us who are marketplace leaders.
For those who are not (yet) followers of Jesus, noise pollution can drown out any appreciation of the very existence of God. According to the Bible, however, that will not be a valid defence when we die and come face to face with the Creator. In his letter to the fledgling church in Rome, the apostle Paul said, “For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.” (Romans 1:20 NLT)
What is the level of noise pollution in your life? Would you like to hear the voice of God more clearly? If you are a marketplace leader, consider joining a LeaderImpact group to explore these and other important life questions.
Garth Jestley is a husband, father, grandfather, leader and business executive. Most importantly, he is a follower of Jesus Christ.