One thing that I really look forward to as we begin our time of furlough every three years is spending some time at a small par-three golf course just outside of Dover, Delaware. This morning, August 7th, I visited Par-Three and in the Delaware heat and humidity enjoyed my first round of golf in nearly three years.
It was summer six years ago when my sons and I were on this small, deteriorating but cheap, par-three golf course. As we played from one green to the next I observed the owner (who owns several golf courses) sitting on a bench looking over the course with a troubled look on his face. As we played by the place he was sitting I walked over to him and thanked him for making this place available to folks like us who cannot justify paying the high prices that fancy golf courses charge.
Three years ago, I was again playing on the course but there was a marked improvement in the quality of the course. The owner was there again and I told him how much improvement I saw as I played around the golf course. He looked at me and his face brightened as he asked if I remembered the conversation we had three years earlier. He then shared how he had been contemplating closing the course for several reasons, but when I came to him with words of gratitude he decided to refocus, do what it would take to get the course into better condition and remain open to the public.
Now, I visited the course again. The course was beautiful. As I sat re-hydrating in the shade outside the office I was amused as a group of senior citizens came through bantering with each other and laughing. One of the long-time employees walked up to me and asked if I remembered the conversation I had with Rick (the owner) years earlier. I replied, “Yes, and the place is beautiful today.”
A word of gratitude can be so helpful when one is struggling. This summer as we mingled with folks at BMA Convention, I was encouraged by how often someone approached and said thank you for serving. A simple expression of gratitude left me eager to continue. Does God desire my pure and simple gratitude?
Had I approached Rick with suggestions on how he could improve Par Three (and I could have given some suggestions) I wonder if he might have chosen to quit. The truth is that he knew what needed to be done. He needed someone to show appreciation and gratitude. My gratitude did not cause the changes that were needed. What my gratitude did was encourage the one who could implement good improvements.
How frequently I express gratitude to manipulate God or others so that my requests might be more easily received. I also know the dread I feel when I think someone is complimenting or thanking me just to set me up for advice or suggestions and how hurtful and artificial the former compliments feel.
Psalms 106:1 "Praise the LORD! Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!"
Psalms 107:1 "Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever! "
Yes, God wants to hear my requests! However, I do not give gratitude to God because I want to manipulate Him to do what I want. I am grateful to Him for who He is and for what He has already done for me. He is good, and His steadfast love endures forever.
--Written by D.T.
“But seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33, KJV).
I remember when I was younger (as in six years ago), I had a mountain of dreams and self-ambitions. I wanted to be fast, I wanted to be strong. I wanted to be good at singing, guitar, tennis, baseball, and volleyball. And I always thought that if I really dug deep inside, I would find the part of me that was capable of holding people spellbound with my music, or impressing them by tracking a speeding baseball through the air and bringing it to rest in my glove with an all-out diving catch.
Now that I’m old, compared to that fifteen year-old version of myself, I realize the shallowness of some of those desires and the errors in my method of realizing them. But that doesn’t mean I’ve stopped dreaming and goal setting. On the contrary, there are many different areas where I want to improve. Some of those areas where I see the need for progress include prayer, patience, fluency in Spanish, and discernment.
One and a half years ago I came to Mexico to care for abused children. And there are not many things about me that haven’t changed since that key event. Qualities that I viewed as “nice” and “something I could probably improve on” suddenly became mandatory, a matter of success or failure. But my method of “trying to find the patient part of me” was not working well.
I knew that God wanted me to become a better disciple of His and that some of the things I desired were qualities which all His followers should develop. Take, for example, what Paul wrote to Timothy, “But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness” (1 Timothy 6:11, KJV). However, I wasn’t sure how to just BE that more patient, prayerful, and godly person that my children needed. So I just did my best day by day to care for my children with my heart and with my actions.
And God began to show me the principle of Mathew 6:33. As I sought God’s kingdom in the hearts of my kids, God began to add to me the things that I needed. As I focused on making the boy who sleeps above me an important part of my life, it became easier and easier to remember to pray for him. As I allowed the small one with the constantly moving hands to burrow deeper and deeper into my heart, I realized that my prayers on his behalf started to come from the same place. As the well-being of my children became more important to me than my own comfort, I found that patient and godly actions came easier than before.
Now I don’t want anyone to misunderstand me, I’m still a selfish and proud individual. But, by God’s grace, I now have another weapon, another principle to use on my behalf. And I believe this principle is instrumental for anyone who wants to grow as a Christian.
It is nearly impossible to grow spiritually if you are focused on yourself. You will not grow in love unless you practice it on the people in your life. You will not grow in patience until you learn to care for THAT person who requires patience. And you will not grow in righteousness until you care about not hurting Christ and His followers with your sin.
This is why Satan loves to tell us that we should not worry about others until we’ve fixed all of our own problems. He knows that if we never focus on others, we will never have anything but problems. Trying to grow without practicing on others reminds me of a game I saw in a science museum. Two people would sit across from each other at the table with brainwave-reading headsets on. The headsets measured the waves emitted from the brain while relaxing. And whoever “relaxed” the hardest, won. But the more you focused on the game, the less progress you made.
And I’ve been there. The harder I tried to fix my problems, the less progress I made. So, I realize that the probability of you learning something from the life experience of a twenty-one year-old is quite minimal. But I hope that this can serve as a reminder. If God has shown you an area that you are weak in, find someone that you can invest into in that area and I believe God will build back into you through those efforts.
Take the initiative! Find that way that you can build God’s kingdom, leave yourself behind, and God will add to you what is necessary.
--Written by: C.Y.
Through the centuries, Christians have been encouraged and mystified by the concept of God’s work in relation to our work as humans who bear His image. An extreme example is the mindset that William Carey encountered when he shared with a group of ministers the need to take the Gospel to the heathen. One minister told him, "Young man, sit down! You are an enthusiast. When God pleases to convert the heathen, he'll do it without consulting you or me."
Exodus 14 gives us insight on the issue of God’s part in relation to our part. The Israelites were trapped, with the Red Sea before them and the army of the world's superpower behind. Then God told Moses something quite intriguing:
“As for you, lift up your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it…
“As for Me, behold, I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they will go in after them; and I will be honored through Pharaoh...
“Then the Egyptians will know that I am the LORD, when I am honored through Pharaoh, through his chariots and his horsemen.”
Exodus 14:16-18 (NASU, emphasis added)
Moses was made in God’s likeness, so of course he had a job to do–and a God-sized job at that–to divide the Red Sea! Moses was so powerless to accomplish that but he had already learned the lesson of doing things God’s way with His tools (ie. a staff).
And what job did God specify only for Himself? The job of working in the heart of humans. Who, in their right mind–after those ten terrible plagues–would dare go into a sea with walls of water on the left and right (v. 22)? Yet God did an amazing miracle in their hearts.
God did two types of miracles here. He worked a miracle in the natural realm of creation–the dividing of the sea was Moses’ work. And yet we know that even this could only be done by God’s presence and power, symbolized by the staff.
God also worked a miracle in the spiritual, unseen realm, and this was done directly by the hand of God. He did the work of changing hearts (this time a hardening). This work in the unseen realm of the human heart was actually the greater work and, I feel, brings most glory to Him.
How does this apply to us in DNI today? We have a part to do. We must rely on the Lord’s presence and power. But like Moses' staff, our tools look very ordinary. Two of our tools are prayer (includes abiding in His presence) and sharing the truth about Jesus with people.
As we use these tools, the Lord will work miracles in the natural realm. He may heal sickness, give special confirmations through circumstances, and even deliver from demonic powers. But these are “lesser” miracles. Do not set your heart on them. As for the Lord, His special part is to change the hearts of humans. And in the New Covenant we find amazing stories of how He softens and opens hearts in repentance. This is the greater work. Set your heart and soul to see hearts changed into Jesus’ likeness!
As we do our part with God’s seemingly ordinary tools, like prayer and speaking, God does His special work in the heart, and He will bring lasting honor to His name as He did at the Red Sea. People will know and experience in their heart that Jesus is Lord.
--Written by: B.S.
The question I was attempting to answer was, “Summarize your personal life and ministry over the past three months. Share both ups and downs, positives and negatives.” How do you even start to try to answer a question like that? Part of my response was this, “I feel like these months have been somewhat months of reprieve for us." We didn't have a lot that absolutely had to be done, and we had a very hard end of 2017, struggling deeply on a personal level. So to have a few months with less pressing was very refreshing. In some ways we are still very much struggling, but in other ways we are very healthy again. God is taking such good care of us. Sometimes we struggle anyway.
The response is what has set me to pondering. My friend wrote back, "That is life to some degree till we get 'home.' I am grateful you have felt some refreshment.” So this is life till I get home? What a good reminder for me--I’m not home yet!
Since that little snippet of wisdom some months ago, I’ve been thinking about what defines a good day. So often I wish for “good days.” But if I’m just passing through this world, what really defines a good day? Colossians 3:2 tells me, "Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth" (NKJV). So shouldn’t I measure my days in that light, not in the light of what I can see physically?
What if I get home exhausted, tired because my relationships with the people around me take work? It seems to me that I’m having a bad day, because these things make me tired and don’t feel nice! But, if I set my mind on things above, maybe I’ll remember the great commandment, “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:30-31, NKJV). If I set my mind on things above, I remember my Lord’s command, and remember to be obedient! In that obedience a “bad” day can become good!
That is only one example, but what I have been realizing is that I need to define my days as good or bad not by how I feel about them, but through the lens of eternity and the truth of the Bible. If I have lived my day in obedience to God by the power of the Spirit, that is a good day. When I serve my family, when I love my wife by laying down my “rights” for her, when I pursue resolution amidst difficult relationships, when I make disciples of Jesus Christ, that is a good day. And if I end my day with a headache and feel discouraged, I can rest in peace, knowing that I had a good day.
“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:33, NKJV).
“But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness...” (2 Peter 3:10-11, NKJV).
Are you having a good day?
--Written by B.B.
One afternoon, we were sitting in a park with people of our focus group all around us, but not with us. My wife remorsefully shared that it had been awhile since she had a good discussion with them. Days and weeks are one thing. But to go months without a good discussion is just hard! This field can be difficult. How can we reach these people for the LORD?!!
Later that afternoon I read John 4:35-38,
“Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest. Already the one who reaps is receiving wages and gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. For here the saying holds true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’ I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.”
At times I lament to the Lord, "Where are the white fields here?" However, the white fields and the concept of sowing and reaping are directly intertwined.
A couple weeks ago it was Holocaust Remembrance Day. A few days later, a friend and I set up a Bible stand on the sidewalk, which may have been naive. An older Jewish man approached us and when he found out we were Christians, he became very angry. With tears of anger in his eyes, he erupted, “You don’t know your history!" He went on to explain, "I am from Lithuania. Do you know what happened there? Before the Germans invaded, the Catholics, good Catholics, just started killing the Jews.” Then came the part that cut into my heart, and into the heart of anyone who longs for another’s salvation, “All Christians are Nazis!”
Is this what it means to “sow in tears?”
Another time a middle aged lady came to our stand and wanted a Tanach (Old Testament) for her nephew and a New Testament for herself. When we made sure she knew that the materials were about the Messiah Jesus, she said with a serious sort of smile, “I want to read it for myself.” Then she slipped off without giving us a chance to exchange contact information.
While I was doing a job for a Jewish couple, the Lord opened up the door to share the Gospel with the wife. After listening to the presentation she said, “Do you hear bad things about Jewish people? (Implying from our church) Not everyone likes Jewish people.”
We met a dear family about three years ago in Illinois. We had many good interactions with them, involving questions like, “Could Jesus really be God?” Friends of ours who currently live in Illinois were also able to meet them. Good questions and an invitation to a Shabbat meal followed.
I often reap seeds sown by the enemy of our souls. At times it takes discipline to not dwell on the negative and to REJOICE IN WHAT GOD IS DOING! Too quickly I get discouraged when I try to throw in the sickle for a good harvest, only to have the sickle bounce off with accusations like, “You’re a Nazi!”, or to pick one of the many lies that have been planted through false brethren. I so easily forget that the fields have been in the enemy’s hands for way too long without the King’s workers laboring in them.
Is your field hard? Keep pressing on! It’s high time we get about our Lord’s work of planting good seed!
--Written by a DNI worker.
Do you wish you could join an intentional group of young people, led by an experienced, caring couple? Why not check out the opportunities that the Voluntary Missions Board offers?
One day, the Pharisees came to Jesus and asked, “Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?” (Matthew 22:17, NKJV) This was a loaded question. If He would answer, “No you don’t have to,” He could be accused of usurping the Roman government. If He answered, “Yes, you really should,” He would be viewed as supporting the Roman government, which would come across as betraying the Jewish nation. They wanted to trap Him.
“But Jesus perceived their wickedness and said, ‘Why do you test Me, you hypocrites? Show Me the tax money’” (vs. 18-19a). He asks whose image is on the coin and they reply that it has Caesar’s inscription. He goes on to instruct them to give to Caesar that which belongs to him, and to God that which belongs to God.
He skillfully sidestepped a political question and cut to the heart. He avoided the stated question while answering the more important question: What do I owe to whom? His answer: Give taxes to whom it is due, but more importantly, give God that which belongs to Him.
Seeing that the Pharisees were unsuccessful at trapping Jesus, the Sadducees decided to take a stab. Matthew precedes the question with a brief commentary. These are the religious leaders “who say there is no resurrection” (vs. 23).
They ask the question with a short, yet tragic, story. A woman had a husband. He died and his brother took the widow as his wife to raise up offspring for the deceased brother. This happened seven times. Now the question, “Whose wife of the seven will she be? For they all had her” (vs. 28).
Jesus starts out by answering their stated question: She won’t be married to any of the men, because in heaven there is no marriage.
But Jesus doesn’t stop with that. He goes on to address their heart question: Does the resurrection really exist? Quoting the Torah, He points out that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob died a long time ago. Although their physical bodies have deteriorated, Jehovah is their God, so they must have a spirit that continues living. “God is not the God of the dead, but of the living” (vs. 32).
The multitudes were astonished at His teaching. His authority and skill were unmatched.
That wasn’t the end of His interrogation. The Pharisees put forward a lawyer to ask a question: “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” (vs. 36) Again, the question is not as simple as it appears. Out of the many commandments that God had given through Moses--along with the many other laws to ensure no one broke the God-given laws--there were many to choose from. No matter which commandment He would choose, they were sure to come back with, “But what about this law? Or what about that? Aren't these just as important?”
As we already know, Jesus quotes, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets” (vs. 37-40).
In very few words, Jesus answers their question while cutting to the heart. It’s not about simply obeying the letter of each law. It’s about why you obey to begin with! Obedience flows out of love for God, which will ultimately result in love for one’s neighbor. Every law hangs on these two concepts.
Jesus ends the interrogation by asking them a question. “What do you think about the Christ? Whose Son is He?” (vs. 42) He already knew what they believed, but He asked the question anyway to challenge their preconceived ideas.
“The Son of David,” they replied.
He came right back with a well-known quote from the Psalms.
"How then does David in the Spirit call Him 'Lord,' saying:
'The LORD said to my Lord, "Sit at My right hand,
till I make Your enemies Your footstool" ' ?
"If David then calls Him 'Lord,' how is He His Son?" (vs. 43-45)
He pushed them to wrestle with the most important question: Who is Jesus? Their arguments were silenced and their consciences were pricked. As I meditate on this passage, I long to have more spiritual wisdom to look past the questions people ask and to see the real questions their hearts are wrestling with. This leads me to look more closely at how Jesus responded in each of the situations above.
He looked for the intent behind the questions. Jesus saw politics in the question about taxes. Right away, He knew it was a trap, but He still didn’t turn them away.
He looked beyond the intent and addressed the heart issue. Jesus answered their question about marriage in heaven, but He went even further. He saw their real question was about the resurrection and He focused on that issue instead.
He turned their religious questions towards relationship. The Pharisees’ question about the most important law was a religious one. Jesus answered their question but pointed out that the law is really all about relationships. It’s about loving God above all and loving others out of love for Him.
He pushed people to wrestle with the question: Who is Jesus? And so must we. May God give us skill to become more like Jesus in our daily interactions. May we have discerning hearts and bold lips to answer and ask the important questions, just as Jesus did.
--Written by I.M.
Past, present and future--for those of us who are striving to learn Spanish, these words make us think of verb tenses. In the Spanish language the verb, or action word, changes with the tense that is used. The question I ask myself is...do my actions change when I consider the past, present or future?
When I was younger and before we moved to Mexico, the future looked clean, like spring--full of hope and excitement. My actions tended to be filled with energy and idealism. As the years passed, my days filled with ministry, the family matured, spring turned into summer and the anticipation of spring planting turned into the dog days of summer. The "plants" must be fertilized and the "weeds" must be pulled. The idealism turned into realism and the excitement turned into perseverance.
There were times of dryness as we waited for God to bring the "rain" and other times we sat back amazed when the "rain" did come and growth came in large chunks. Sometimes I felt sad for those who gave financially so that we could be involved in church planting, because they didn't get to see first-hand the changes that God did in the lives of the people.
Then the season changed again as "autumn" arrived, with contemplation about the past. There are things we would adjust if we could, and there are joys that still bring contentment as we ponder the past. As we reflect, we learn. We become more aware of the need for prayer in our own lives, as we are reminded time and again that we just plant and water but God gives the increase. We teach and encourage, but God must do the work in the hearts if there is to be real change.
When we came to Mexico our oldest was ten. Now, two are married and starting their own families. As our family matures and the church becomes more self-sustaining, I look back. What have I learned? What was good or what didn't work? Have I grown? Do I see circumstances and events through God's eyes or does my selfishness still rise to the top as cream rises to the top of fresh milk?
As I reflect, I rummage around to find a list I penned in the past, and which is still in the reworking stage. The list has around fifty points of what I have learned. Here are a few that I hope will be a help for those of you who are in the spring or summer of your ministries or families.
* I need flexibility.
* I need to hold my "rights" loosely.
* My weaknesses follow me to the "mission field."
* I will probably never completely understand the new culture I am living in.
* It is easier to start a ministry than to complete it.
* It is still more enjoyable to preach in my mother tongue.
* Being too "connected" to the world and extended family can be a major thief of time and can cause excessive worries.
* I need the "mind of Christ."
A few about the family:
* Children adapt easily.
*Children learn the language easier.
* On the mission field, children have the privilege to see Christianity from the ground up and new believers maturing and being able to preach.
* Children on the mission field have the opportunity to participate in ministry at a young age.
I am thankful for what I have experienced these past years. Some have been a lot more enjoyable than others. May God bless those who are just starting with perseverance, the ability to laugh at oneself, and the blessing of being refined into what God wants you to become.
--Written by L.Y.
1. Fear of being rejected.
OVERCOME: Every time we share our faith it is a winning situation. (Mat. 5:11,12) If we are rejected and insulted, our reward in heaven grows some more!
2. Don’t know how to.
OVERCOME: Both Jesus and Paul began with natural topics and transitioned to spiritual ones. (Jn. 4; Acts 17)
Example: crash of an airplane or fall of the Twin Towers; “What do you think happened to those people when they walked off the planet?” Or ask: “If you died tonight, are you 100-percent assured you would go to Heaven?”
3. Fear of Losing a Friend.
OVERCOME: What kind of friendship do you really have if you would go to heaven when you die, but your friend would go to hell? “I want to know tons of people in Heaven! That means I had better be inviting a whole lot of people to heaven while I’m here.”
4. They Have Already Heard.
OVERCOME: It takes an average of 7.6 times for people to hear the Gospel before they commit their life to Christ...this might be the perfect time for an individual to hear the Gospel..
5. I Am Just Lazy.
OVERCOME: According to Zondervan Church Source, 97 percent of church members have no involvement in any sort of evangelism...only 1 percent of their readership (Christianity Today) had witnessed to someone “recently”.
Probably the reason most people don’t share their faith is that they really don’t have any faith to share. Charles Spurgeon said, “Have you no wish for others to be saved? Then you are not saved yourself. Be sure of that.”
“If God gave you a thousand dollars every time you shared your faith in Jesus Christ, would you share your faith?...Would you be more zealous for money than for God? Would you deal with your laziness problem for the love of money when you won’t deal with it for the love of God?”
6. Friendship Evangelism.
OVERCOME: At the well, Jesus made the first move to talk to the woman. “So to walk like He did, we must be available to the Spirit of God to initiate conversations with people as we’re out witnessing.” If we depend on people to get saved by looking at our lives, whose life are we really sharing—ours’ or God’s?
7. I Don’t Know Enough.
OVERCOME: “Witnessing is one of the ways that you will learn more about your faith.” (Philemon 6 NIV)
“You are saved and the people you witness to are lost; who knows more in every spiritual conversation? You always know more than a lost person does in any conversation.”
8. They Won’t Want To Talk About It.
OVERCOME: “Always assume that people do want to talk about eternity, and not that they don’t want to talk about it. Therefore, before you leave your house, it’s important to pray that the Lord will lead you to lost people during the day, and that He will soften the individuals’ hearts before you ever begin the conversations. That way, you know they’ll be ready for you when you get there!”
9. I Can’t Answer Their Questions.
OVERCOME: The fools says in his heart there is no God. “You are not a fool just because you do not know an answer to a question.”
If you are asked a question you cannot answer, just say: “That is a good question, and I don’t know the answer. Would you like to know the answer? What is your e-mail, phone number or address so when I find the answer, I can get it to you?”
Adapted from "One Thing You Can't Do In Heaven" by Mark Cahill
“Oh my friends, we are loaded down with countless church activities, while the real work of the church, that of evangelizing the world and winning the lost, is almost entirely neglected!” --Oswald J. Smith.
It’s summertime in South Asia. Even with the ceiling fans on high blast, the heat saps my energy. As I look out the window, I see the rickshaw driver coming down the street. He’s skinny – barely weighing 130 pounds. Drenched in sweat, he has a bandana wrapped around his head to shade him from the noon sun. It's half way through the day, but he’s totally exhausted. He heaves all of his weight on the left pedal to get half a rotation of the pedals and then leans right and heaves his weight on the right side for another half rotation. He needs a break – a long drink of water, a spot of shade where he can rest, some breeze to cool him off….
I could invite him in – give him a large glass of lemonade, a plate full of rice and curry, and a spot to stretch out under the ceiling fan. He’d be refreshed, but he really needs more. Hard work is destroying him. It’s not just the work itself; it’s the fact that he never gets a break and that he’s trying to do too much work with too little food. He ate a meager meal before he left home. He may buy some cheap food when he’s out working.
Tonight when he gets home, he’ll eat cooked rice, but he can’t afford vegetables and meat. He won’t sleep well tonight – noise and heat in the slums leave little room for rest. Tomorrow morning he’ll be tired, starting another day of intense manual labor with too little food and limited energy. If he becomes sick, he has nothing in reserve so that he can bounce back. There is no margin, just bare survival one day at a time.
Many of you are facing similar situations. You’re in a setting that’s exhausting. Your work is demanding. There’s no margin. You roll out of bed and you feel the pressure of life bearing down on you. You’re facing another day and wonder how you’ll make it through. You mechanically make your way out to your rickshaw, feeling hungry and worn out. You throw all of your weight on one side for half a rotation. You groan. You throw your weight on the other side. Inching down the street, there’s no hope of real progress. People in your life need you to be there, to listen to them, to care. You try, but their words are drowned out by the exhaustion and hunger in your own heart. It’s hard to hear the cries around us when we’ve had to block out the cries within.
It’s not that work is a problem. Kingdom work is often hard. Hard work can be a good thing. However, if you want hard work to strengthen you, rather than destroy you, there are at least two things that you’ll need – you need rest and you need food.
God has built rest into the rhythm of the universe. He worked six days and then He rested. He calls us to rest. We work hard and then we disengage. We receive His weekly Sabbath and are refreshed. We receive His daily rest – learning to lay aside responsibilities in the evening, spending time with loved ones, receiving His gift of sleep. We’ve also found that it includes longer times of rest where we step away from work for a week or two at a time and spend time with each other, with God, in nature, and are refreshed. We need rest.
We also need food. We weren’t meant to starve ourselves. There is food that will nourish our souls and water that will quench our thirst.
And yet so often we struggle through life hungry, never sitting down to the feast that God has prepared for us. The harder the work that we face, the more desperately we need to eat regularly and eat well. Let the Father feed you. Sit at His table and receive the Word that gives you life.
One of the biggest lies is “I have to keep going.” When you feel the most trapped, don’t push through on your own strength. Stop and rest. Stop and eat. He is our food, He is our rest, He is our life.
Verses for Reflection
Rest: Ps 4:8, Ps 62, 127:1-2, Is 40:28-31, Matt 11:28-30, Mk 6:31
Nourishment: Jn 4:13-14, 6:55-59, 7:37-39, 15:1-11, Rev 22:1-2, 22:17
Written by: E.M.