Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Weary? Don't Quit!!

It’s a problem that plagues every believer at some time in their walk with God. Whether you stand in the pulpit or sit in the pew, we all sometimes feel overwhelmed by life and its circumstances. We wonder where we can go for a break, a time of R&R, just to step away from the chaos for a moment and take a deep breath. Weariness, exhaustion, and burnout all take their toll in the believers walk.
There are times that we do take on too much. At times like that, we need to step away from the forest to see the trees. In other words, we need to take the time to re-evaluate our priorities. Sometimes out of our own personal guilt, we refuse to say the little word, “no” and we end up doing things God never intended for us to do. When you find activities robbing your time with God, with your family, and with the calling God placed on your life, you have gone too far the wrong way. Taking on too much of the wrong things can make us a candidate for both physical and spiritual burnout. Exhausted though you may be, you need to take the courageous step of pulling away and getting alone with the Lord once again.
Jesus spent hours alone during his vital and demanding ministry. While others clamored for His attention, he went up into a mountain to pray. (Matthew 14:23) It is the ego, and pride that sometimes causes us to want and love the adulating crowd. It’s nice to be needed and wanted. But it is also exhausting. If you never take the time for a vacation, take one. If you love your pastor, make sure you encourage him to take a vacation and help with the added costs of doing so. Help to fill some of the roles he takes care of every week. If you can’t take a long vacation, take mini-vacations. Take two or three days away doing something different. Even taking time out of your normal routine to do something relaxing can help lift the weariness.

Let it go.
Sometimes weariness comes from holding on to things we should have let go. A story is told of a lecturer who challenged his class to guess how much the glass of water in his hand weighed. Guesses varied. Then the teacher told them…. " The absolute weight doesn’t matter. What matters is how long you hold it. If I hold the cup for a minute, I would be Ok. If I hold it for an hour, I will have an ache in my right arm. If I hold it for one day, you will have to call an ambulance. The cup of water is the exact same weight, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it feels and the more damage it can do to me." Are you feeling the weight of some burden today? Set it down at the Lord’s feet . Sometimes we carry our burdens of sin and guilt and regret. Yet God never intended that we do so. The longer we carry what we were never designed to carry, the more harm we do to ourselves. Let it go.

Press On
There are times when we need to stop and take a look around and then there are times when we need to press on. When you feel like throwing in the towel and quitting, don’t! The enemy of our soul loves to drag us to the point of weariness, until we feel like there is no other way out. Sometimes it takes a new determination to fulfill the call of God in our lives. Sometimes it takes a fresh vision from the Master to renew our purpose and calling. There is nothing like time spent with the Master to get it all back into a heavenly perspective. When God gives the vision, He always makes a way of fulfilling it. It’s part of His plan. Sometimes we need to remind ourselves that the weight of His calling in our lives does not just depend on us. It depends on our dependence on Him. I will never forget how God set us aside during a time between churches we pastored. We were busy raising four children, and the demands of ministry had brought us to the place of weariness. We had no regular employment, mouths to feed and bills to pay including a car payment. We had tried to sell it, but God had other plans. He knew we would needed it to travel. One day we reminded God….”God, your car payment is due.” God ownership of the burden. God came through, month after month. We never missed a payment.

Prevention Power
There are times when we look back at some the things God has allowed us to go through and we regret some of the decisions and choices we have made. We often choose in haste, failing to take the time to pray about it and get God’s input into the problem. A story is told of how a mother came home to find all her children in a circle in the living room. At first she was happy to see them all getting along so nicely. Then she noticed what had their attention, a family of baby skunks. In a mad panic, she screamed and told them all to leave the room immediately. They all complied taking a baby skunk with them. More screams followed as the now frightened skunks did what comes naturally in a moment of fear. Soon the whole house and each child was drenched in the unpleasant aroma, which took many days to eradicate. How we choose to react to circumstances can cause more of a problem than if we take the time to pray and think it all through calmly. When our emotions take the drivers seat, we have a fool at the wheel. Thoughtful prayer and careful responses can save us heartache and trouble. Often we are our own worst enemies. We do too many things without praying about it or thinking through the consequences . Some end up with unwanted debt, while others destroy old friendships. Ask yourself if this decision is pleasing to God. When God says “no” don’t make excuses and do things your own way anyhow. That’s rebellion.
When you feel like quitting, take a moment and look at the lives of some of the Bible characters who refused to give up in the face of trouble. Noah, though mocked by his neighbors, labored on for 120 years building the ark, saving his family. Joseph, rejected by his brothers, sold into slavery, and unjustly accused, chose to love his siblings, resulting in the preservation of a nation. David, anointed to be king, spent years running and hiding from Saul. By faith, he awaited God’s timing and fulfillment.
How can we prevent spiritual disaster? Burnout? Weariness? When we follow the example of Jesus, we will make it through. We may not escape all troubles. God allows troubles to strengthen us. But when we keep God’s priorities first, when we invite God to provide a solution, when we stop and listen for His voice, when we persist in prayer---that’s when God moves mountains and calms stormy seas. He is always there—in the deserts of our lives—waiting to provide living water for our thirsty souls. When you are tempted to take the ‘easy road’ that you know is not God’s plan, remember that the enemy would love to tempt you to do your own thing. I have learned to listen carefully to my Father. When He says rest—I rest. When He says move—I move. He knows my needs better than I do. My heavenly father always knows best!
Are you weary today? Feeling restless? Uncertain about tomorrow? He is your shepherd. Let Him lead you to green pastures and quiet waters where you will lack nothing and you can feed in His presence. When your enemies threaten—He is there! When you have need—He provides! When the task seems impossible—He is the God of the impossible!
Turn your back on evil, work for the good and don't quit. God loves this kind of thing, never turns away from his friends. Psalm 37:27 (The Message Bible)
Don't burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don't quit in hard times; pray all the harder. Help needy Christians; be inventive in hospitality. Romans 12:11 (The Message Bible)
J. Johnson

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