By Dr. April Dawn White, Pharm.D.
In his book, the Three Mile an Hour God, Japanese Theologian Kosuke Koyama introduces the theology of speed. Human beings walk at a pace of three miles per hour. Jesus, who was fully man and fully human, loved people at the pace of three miles per hour.
“Love has a speed. It’s a spiritual speed. It is a different kind of speed from the technological speed to which we are accustomed. It goes on in the depth of our life, whether we notice it or not, at three miles per hour. It is the speed we walk and therefore the speed the love of God walks.”
Jesus Christ led His entire life and ministry at the pace of three miles per hour. There were no Jerusalem Ubers or Capernaum taxis. Jesus and his disciples walked from town-to-town.
Unlike our current culture, hurried and stressed from one place to another, Jesus walked at the pace of grace. That pace was three miles an hour. God speed is three miles an hour. The speed of ministry, life, love, tenderness, and compassion for those around us is also at the attainable slow speed of three miles per hour.
Three miles per hour is the average walking pace. At this pace, we can walk and carry on a conversation, gaze at the scenery, and comment on what’s ahead. This is a steady but unhurried pace. For most of us, a pace of three miles per hour won’t leave us gasping for breath. At this pace, we have plenty of time to recognize others along the way. There is no abrupt halt at a pace of three miles per hour. No fumbling and stumbling over people encountered along the way. But an invitation for others to join us or perhaps for us to stop and spend time with those we meet.
Jesus walked at a three-mile-an-hour pace of grace.
God speed is a leisurely pace of 3mph.
God speed is slow and gentle not rushed and rough.
God's speed is tender and deliberate, not hard, and inattentive. Setting our pace of life with God, not the world, invites conversation, fosters community, and provides space to ponder.
In quiet reflection, ponder these questions:
How could our lives be different if we walked like Jesus at this pace of grace?
How might our relationships change if we slowed down the pace of everyday life to see the people directly before us? To truly listen to those in our presence without forming a retort, rebuttal, or reply while they’re still talking?
What if we asked Jesus to pace our day according to His plans, His will, and His way?
What would happen if we stopped running errands and claiming to be busy with everyone we meet? Instead, we add margin to our day and invite the unexpected move of the Holy Spirit. God will bring people into our path at the grocery store, in the school pickup line, or at the library for a divine encounter.
Jesus set the pace for ministry, life, love, tenderness, and relationship with others. His pace of grace transformed every perceived interruption into a divine appointment. In these divine appointments, Jesus prayed, encouraged, blessed, and healed. As Christians, we are called to do the same as the hands and feet of Jesus.
Every “interruption” was a divine encounter for Jesus to pray, encourage, bless, or heal. We are called to be the hands and feet of Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:20) .
As he walked along, Jesus:
Invited Levi, the tax collector also known as Matthew, to join Him in ministry. (Mark 2:14)
Healed a blind man from birth. (John 9:1-6)
Called Simon Peter and Andrew to follow Him. (Matthew 4:18)
Climbed a mountainside and sat down with His disciples. (John 6:3)
Touched the coffin of the widow’s son and brought him back to life. (Luke 7:14)
Joined Cleopas and his companion on the road to Emmaus with a lively conversation regarding Christ’s empty tomb. (Luke 24:15)
Defied the laws of nature and walked on water and presented Himself to the disciples. (Matthew 14:25)
The three-mile-per-hour ministry pace of Jesus is a reminder to all of us in the Western hustle culture to s—l—o—w d—o—w—n. To completely embrace the present. And to pace our day according to His plans, His will, and His way.
© 2023 April Dawn White
April Dawn White is an author, speaker, and writing coach. She is the cheerleader to two adult children and a former pharmacist. April is a rare illness warrior, and she draws strength daily with Jesus, coffee, and afternoon naps. While Hypokalemic Periodic Paralysis hijacked her body, she refuses to let it steal her hope. God is using April's chronic battle as a platform to write and speak of God's chronic presence. Within the pages of her book, Destination Hope A Travel Companion When Life Falls Apart, comes a sisterhood, a bond that is formed only through the mutual understanding of loss and the need to find hope in hard times.