Over the past few years, I have come to realize that many in “the church” tend to equate being busy with being godly.
Work equals commitment. Exhaustion equals devotion.
I remember my dad saying to me once, “Son, you really need to slow down some”. My reply: “I can slow down when I’m dead dad.” Sounds funny, but let me tell you I meant it! I would just smile and think to myself, “Poor dad, he just doesn’t get it”. Yes, I was working hard “for Jesus” and laying up a whole truck load of crowns to “lay" at His feet. Now, it wasn’t that I didn’t enjoy any of the activities I was involved in, but honestly at what point is our “doing much” too much?
Over the past few years, I have learned a magical word and it has brought me much joy.
That word is no.
Now before I go any farther, let me say that it is certainly not a popular word and if indeed you dare choose to use it, be prepared! For you see, in the eyes of many, this is not the way of the “true Christian”
At least…that’s what we’re told.
No, “real” Christians know that “the fields are ripe for harvest” and time is short. Yes sir, God expects us to use those talents and gifts He’s so graciously given us and use them well. After all, do you really want Him to have to take that gift you keep burying and give it to your buddy? God forbid! That was the message I heard over and over again, and I surely would not suffer such a fate!
And then…I read it. Really read it.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Rest? What the heck is that? That certainly didn’t sound very “Christian” at all!
Now, I had read that scripture a zillion times and never gave it a second thought. But when your tank’s running low and STILL people are stomping hard on the pedal, you tend to notice things like that.
For years, it was like that for me. Go till you can’t keep going. Even if you’re miserable, never stop! Why? Cause it makes Jesus...happy?
Yes, hitting the wall can do a lot for the eyes and ears.
Now my granddad was a farmer, a really great farmer. He honestly could get just about anything to grow even in the worst of conditions. Still, my granddad was wise enough to know that there were seasons in which the ground just needed to lie fallow. What is “fallow”? I’m glad you asked!
A fallow field is one that is not planted for a period in hopes that it will regain its fertility. You see, using a field to plant the same crop over and over again will result in a field that becomes less and less productive. Leaving a field “fallow” allows the soil to have a chance to recover lost life giving nutrients that plants need to grow. As a matter of fact, people discovered that their old unproductive fields had actually become even more productive than before after a period of non use. Thus, people began to rotate crops to allow their fields a chance to “rest”.
Unfortunately, that kind of thinking just doesn’t exist much in Christianity today. Apparently, if you’re a field, rest is acceptable, but in “the church” it’s a “no-no”! If you are depleted, you are obviously not relying on Jesus enough. After all, didn’t He say we could do “all things through Christ who gives us His strength”? Suck it up, pray harder, push on, and above all never ever stop! That is the way of the “committed” Christian.
And to that line of thinking, I say...”poo poo”!
As with all things in life there are seasons. The wisest man who ever walked the earth spoke of this when he said the following:
“There is a time for everything,and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.”
And Christian, there is a time to rest.
If you’re worn out, frustrated, and running on empty, maybe God’s trying to tell you something.
Could it be that maybe God wants to give your “field” some time to recover?
Could it be that maybe He knows better than all those other voices out there that continually demand more when in your heart you know you’ve got nothing left to give?
Could it be that the God of the universe might actually be more concerned for you than any of the “stuff” you are trying so hard to “do” for him?
Jesus once told a complaining Martha that in her “busyness” she was missing out on the “better” that her sister Mary had chosen, and it would not be taken from her.
How about you friend? Like Martha are you “worried and upset” about the “many things" you think God requires of you? Are you “wearied and burdened”? Jesus said, “few things are needed, indeed only one.”
With that, when was the last time you just simply enjoyed the beauty of sitting at His feet?
Just you…and Jesus?
Not while preparing for a Sunday school lesson, or at “visitation” (I never really liked that one), or in a “service”.
Just you…and Jesus.
What if He asked you to sit for a “season”, a season that began AND ended when HE decided?
You say, “But Ken, there’s so much kingdom work to be done”. I would say apart from him, what can you do?
You say, “But what would people say? They might think I’m just lazy and uncommitted”. I say, who cares!
You say, “But who’s going to get “everything” done? I say, the same one who’s been getting everything done from the get go (that’s Jesus by the way).
I say, stop asking questions Martha!
Am I saying we should just sit around and do nothing? Of course not! Since when did spending time with Jesus qualify as doing nothing?
What I am saying is that Jesus knows better than you, and me, and all the other good hearted folks out there pushing you closer and closer to the cliff’s edge. If you need to rest, then rest! On the authority of scripture it’s okay!
And if people keep pushing, just share my little “magic” word with them!
They may not love, appreciate, or understand it, but your field will thank you!