A Badge too Heavy To Bear

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Yes, for years I put in a lot of hours working. And I got a lot done. A lot! I marked my progress by what was accomplished and by my productivity. “For every one hour I put in it’s worth 3 – 4 hours of the average person,”  I would boast. Oh, then I’d tag it by noting how many hours I had put it….

This self-issued “Badge of Honor” became a badge too heavy to bear. I was rarely—if ever—home, I was constantly pumping adrenaline (since I don’t do caffeine), and I would have a constant string of maladies. Oh, I would even note that the Lord was trying to slow me down, but “I have a lot to accomplish for the kingdom.”

When I did slow down (some), I felt guilty and lazy. I’m not doing enough for the Lord—as if my production and productivity were His measures of my value.

It wasn’t until this most recent hip surgery I truly and seriously began to look at what the Lord was really showing me: I need to take care of myself with an honest-to-goodness Sabbath’s rest. Huh? Really? “But it’s an issue of stewardship,” I would retort, “isn’t it, Lord?” 

Yes, I did preach Sabbath for years; even “practiced” it to some degree. But to actually take some time for my self to physically rest, emotionally discharge and spiritually recharge, well, I still had to move passed this idea of being lazy and stewardship. But in the Lord’s gentle way, He has be ‘nudging’ me to simply do nothing, but focus on His goodness and allow the Holy Spirit to emotionally discharge and spiritually recharge my “system”—along with this literal physical rest. I guess this is what it means when our Master says, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.”

So I’ve been practicing leaving tasks undone. And allowing myself the freedom to have an uncompleted check list. Tomorrow has enough to worry about anyway. How about you? How is your Sabbath’s rest coming?

Main Text— Mark 2:24–28 (NIV84) 24 The Pharisees said to [Jesus], “Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?” 25 He answered, “Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry and in need? 26 In the days of Abiathar the high priest, he entered the house of God and ate the consecrated bread, which is lawful only for priests to eat. And he also gave some to his companions.” 27 Then He said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. 28 So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”

Additional Scriptures to Renew Your Thoughts

Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience.—Hebrews 4:11 (NIV84)

 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.Matthew 11:28–29 (NIV84)

  Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, [Jesus] said to them, “Come with Me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest. Mark 6:31 (NIV84)

Heavenly Father, lead me to that quiet place in and with Your Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Recharge my soul as I gaze upon the beauty of Your Holiness and Goodness. In Son’ s Holy Name, Amen. 

Coach Mike

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“Be A Change Agent for Jesus”

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Peter & John in the Temple

My Thoughts:

I know a common prayer of mine has been: “Lord, use me.” Well, what if He doesn’t? What if He chooses to pour me out as King David did the water secured from his hometown well (see 2 Chronicles 11:17-19), will my life and my service be any less valuable to Him? Or More? I know I have been stuck in this utilitarian / performance base value system for some time, but in truth, the Lord does use us—and He uses us as a change agent for others.

I have found that at least two prerequisites for this are faithfulness and availability. When we are faithful and available, we can enjoy the blessings of being co-laborers with Him as Peter and John were in this morning’s main text (see below).

Peter and John were not walking around wondering how the Lord was going to use them. No, instead they were faithful in prayer, going to the temple for the daily prayers. They were available to the Spirit’s promptings. In short, their hearts were open and their eyes were open. This led to their hands being open to be used of the Lord in His ways and in His timing. (In this situation, an open hand to grasp a lame beggar’s, eh?)

Years ago, Brother Andrew and I were talking privately at a conference he spoke at, and he said, “Michael, too often we come to the Lord with our hands full of our projects and our ideas and say, ‘Lord, bless these.’ Instead, we should lift up empty hands and say, ‘Lord, what do You want me to do? Fill these empty hands with Your projects and Your ideas….”

Have you discovered that only empty hands can be filled with heavenly projects? I have, and I have also learned that an open heart that is in passionate pursuit of Jesus joined with open eyes for His Person leads to open hands for His business. Have you?  How does being faithful in prayer lead to these and to becoming a change agent of Jesus? Your thoughts?

Main Text: — Acts 3:6-7 — 6 Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” 7 Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong.  [NIV84]

Additional Scriptures to Renew Your Thoughts

And [Jesus] said to them, Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?  — Luke 2:49 (NKJV)

 But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.  — 1 Peter 3:15 (NIV84)

Who may ascend the hill of the LORD? Who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to an idol  or swear by what is false. He will receive blessing from the LORD  and vindication from God his Savior.  Such is the generation of those who seek Him, who seek your face, O God of Jacob. — Psalm 24:3-6 (NIV84)

 Heavenly Father, give us clean hands and purify our hearts. Let us not give our souls to another. (adapted from Charlie Hall’s “Give Us Clean Hands”) May I always honor the Holy Name of Jesus, Amen.

Pastor Mike