Growing up as the first-born male on either side of the family and having a very driven mother I felt the pressure to produce and perform. As a Junior High School student at thirteen years of age I held down a 20-hour a week job at Kinney Shoe Store in addition to my household chores. By the time I was sixteen I was running the Children’s Department of the store while trying to bring up my grades so I could escape the turmoil associated with the Race Riots in East Oakland.
My college years were filled with many challenges associated with getting married young and holding down a job to pay the rent on our 500 square foot apartment while carrying a full load of classes. I don’t regret the challenges and hard work it took to shape and mold my character. What I regret is that I didn’t spend enough time at the feet of Jesus by reading enough of His word and listening more intently to the Holy Spirit.
Those who know me best would testify that my “workaholic nature” still persists. After a life-threatening surgery when I was thirty-seven I even more embraced the words that the Apostle Paul gave us: “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell. For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better. Nevertheless, to remain in the flesh is more needful for you. And being confident of this, I know that I shall remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy of faith, that your rejoicing for me may be more abundant in Jesus Christ by my coming to you again.” Phil. 1:21-24
There is a similar message in Hebrews 10:39 “But we are not of those who draw back and are destroyed, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul.” Working for the Lord is a privilege and honor. It is easy to get so caught up in the work of the Lord and serving others that one can forget about taking a break – resting and recharging.
In Luke 10 Mary was not praised for sitting still; but for her sitting at Jesus’ feet. Even so, Christians are not to be praised for neglecting duties under the pretense of having secret fellowship with Jesus: it is not sitting, but sitting at Jesus’ feet which is commendable. A pastor once said, “Do not think that activity is in itself an evil: it is a great blessing, and a means of grace to us. Paul called it a grace given to him to be allowed to preach; and every form of Christian service may become a personal blessing to those engaged in it.”
Those who have most fellowship with Christ are not recluses or hermits, who have much time to spare, but hard working laborers who are toiling for Jesus, and who, in their toil, have Him side by side with them, so that they are workers together with God. Let us remember then, in everything we have to do for Jesus, that we can do it, and should do it in close communion with him.
Having justified my ridiculous schedule, I must confess that I need more time just being still and listening to our Lord. I must begin a process of better sorting through priorities so I can spend more time knowing the mind and heart of God on an intimate level.
Please pray for my balance and stamina. It is true the fields are ripe with harvest, but it takes many workers to accomplish His will and do His work. Pray for more workers to assist Men’s Ministry Catalyst with the unique opportunities we have to help change the world – one life at a time. Also pray that those of us in ministry to see the many challenges and opportunities to serve can find balance and harmony that is a by-product of a rich personal relationship with our Lord.
How can you find more rest for your soul?
The average pastor spends less than thirty minutes a day in prayer, meditation, and reading God’s word. How can you encourage your pastor to take more personal time to recharge his or her spiritual batteries?
When you read Luke 10:38-42 what do you see as the primary message Jesus was giving Martha and each of us who are consumed with doing instead of being?