The LORD came and stood there, calling as at the other times, "Samuel! Samuel!"

Then Samuel said, "Speak, for your servant is listening" (1 Samuel 3:10, NIV 1984).

It is late. Actually, it is early in the day, but it is late on my schedule to get everything done that I feel I need to accomplish in the next eighteen hours. It is a big day. I have much to do and "miles to go before I sleep" (Robert Frost). A quick glance at my Reminders for the day reveals two things. First, it is a long list. Second, I forgot a few things that I need to add.

Computer running. Coffee brewed. I am ready to attack the day.

"What's that? I've forgotten something? No way. Surely there is nothing else I need to add to my list. There is no room. There is no time. There is no energy for anything else!"

The voice says,

I lay there speechless.
"Slow down, Tom."

"What do you mean? 'Slow down?' I can't slow down! I have too much to do!"

So, off I go. Doing my thing. Managing my day. Serving the Lord. Taking care of business.

It is halfway through the morning and only one item has been checked off my Reminders list. I hear the voice again.

"Slow down, Tom."

"What? Where did that come from? Who is that? Has someone pulled a trick on me? Is that a new app on my iPhone?"

I hear it again. "Slow down, Tom."

I brush the notion off and move on with my day.

After lunch I rush back to the office, pull up my Reminders list certain that I can now check off most of the items.

"How did I get so off track? Did I really spend ninety minutes trying to figure out a new feature on that software program? Wow! Where has the day gone? I better get busy!"

The day goes on. Heavy traffic slowed the trip across town, so in my mind I revisited my Reminders list. "My goodness, I feel like I have been busy all day and yet I have been able to check off only a few of the things on my list."

In the quiet car ride I heard the voice again.

"Slow down, Tom."

"Oh, no! Now, it's coming through my car radio. My radio is not turned on. Is it my GPS? Where is that coming from? Who is that?"

After dinner there were things to do around the house. Routine stuff. Oh sure, these things could have waited, but for some reason I felt like I had to do them right then. So, I did.

As I turned out the lights and lay down on my bed, I opened my Reminders list on my phone one last time only to be reminded of all the things I had not done. Oh, I had done a lot, but I could have done more. As I placed my phone on the nightstand I heard the voice again.

"Slow down, Tom."

In that quiet moment in the darkness I finally realized who it was.

"Lord, is that You?"

"Yes. I've been trying to get your attention all day. I just wanted us to spend some time together. I had something very important to tell you. You were so busy. I could have helped you. If you had stopped long enough to listen to me, I could have helped you accomplish all the things on your list that you needed to accomplish. If you had slowed down and visited with me I could have kept some of the distractions away. Together we could have done some amazing things today. We could have done a few things that would have made a real difference in your life, in your family's life, and even in the lives of some of the people you passed by during the day without even noticing."

I lay there speechless.

Sad. Disappointed. Convicted. I said, "I'm sorry. Speak, Father, Your servant is listening."