Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Take a Break

Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. Hebrews 4:1 (emphasis mine)

Well what do you know…it’s not all about me! That’s what the apostle Paul thought. Don’t you hate to be knocked off of center stage and out of the limelight? “Look Paul, I’ve got my hands full keeping myself straight. Why am I responsible for others to enter God’s rest? Gimme a break!”

When I read that verse with a focus on me, I didn't like it and I missed the whole point. Jesus is the head of the body (singular) not bodies. We the church, believers, whatever title you attach to yourself, are not Lone Rangers for the Lord. We’re meant to work together as a cohesive unit the same way our physical bodies operate. When I work in my yard my hands don’t go outside and my feet stay indoors propped up on my footstool relaxed. All of me gets involved in the project. This also applies when we rest. To be refreshed and renewed every part needs to participate and take some down time.

Usually my “to do list” outweighs reality but that doesn’t suppress my attempted pursuit of the absurd. I push myself to exhaustion and end up too tired to rest. Had I heeded the signals my body sent I wouldn’t be worn out and depleted. Accomplishments can be addictive and to chase them sends my life out of balance. In the end I’m too tired to enjoy the pleasures of life or respond to emergencies or unexpected surprises.

As Christ’s body, we need to watch out for each other. Great emphasis is placed on spurring each other on to good works and we should. It’s equally important to encourage and facilitate one another to be human beings and not human doings. We need to help other body parts avoid the performance trap. Let’s remember that to “be still and know that I am God” in important to maintain health. To make this happen we should lower our expectations of each other and shoulder their load so they can rest. The standard formula that 20% of the people do 80% of the work won’t cut it if we want to see the kingdom of God manifested here on earth. When we all work together, no one carries an inordinately large load. Those in need of a break can take it and the wheels won’t fall off the wagon.
          God never intended for a few to do all the work anymore than He designed our hands to do everything while the rest of us chill out. In his book, Thinking Fast and Slow, author Daniel Kahnemen offers this thought. “Indeed there is evidence that people are more likely to be influenced by empty persuasive messages, such as commercials, when they are tired and depleted.” Could fatigue cause us to miss God’s truth? It’s in times of stillness, when we're quiet, that we hear His voice clearly. We need His directions and instructions to find the best path from A to B. Notice I didn’t say the shortest. When we work as a unit. the Body will be strong and healthy because it receives the rest it needs to recharge. If you’re presently disengaged, get back in the flow so that those carrying the load can finally take a break.

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