Tuesday, April 3, 2012


Watch out..lawn mowing season has begun.  If you are frequent reader here, you might be acquainted with the fact that I have a lesson that sometimes emerges out of my time spent with the mower and God.  For me, it really can be a time to listen to God, process and learn.

This past week's message for me was S-L-O-W-D-O-W-N.  

When I mow, I'll admit that I want to get it done and fast.  I really don't like to spend time doing it.  So when it's time, I like to get the mixture of fumes, sweat and grass clippings over with.  Another confession, some spiritual lessons learned are harder than the actual mowing process.   With either point it takes most of my afternoon.    

While mowing last week it was challenge because the grass was really high.  My pasture-grass-yard had transformed into a jungle during the first two weeks of March.  The season of Spring was here for about 10 minutes and then we said hello to summer.  With the high grass, there were some hard inanimate things that were laying hidden.  Unfortunately, I found such hidden objects with the mower.  There was an awful collision of the blade and the junk in the tall grass...then the mower stopped.  

Upon careful inspection, it was revealed that the blade was bent.  Not just a little bent, but bent down in such a way that it would churn up the ground every time it rotated.  It was like mowing with a garden tiller. It didn't work very well.  The blade had hit something HARD!  I continued to limp the mower along to finish the yard.  It was taking twice as long since I had to slow down because of the bent blade.  It was frustrating at best.  As I was mowing, God reminded me that I also might need to slow down.

I realized in the moment of churning the turf that I cause my own churning chaos.  I create it, in fact, I am an overachiever in this category.  So now....I need to have a collision of God's blade and some hard things hidden in my heart.  And that hurts.  I need to slow down to find rest in God.
1 Corinthians 7:17 "Nevertheless, each one should retain the place in life that the Lord assigned to him and to which God has called him.  This is the rule I lay down in all the churches."

I need to find my place that the Lord has assigned to me and has called me to.  I need to find that "sweet spot".  Why is this so hard for me?  Because I like to do.  I like to do a lot of ministry things.  I like to serve, I like to move, I like to progress and help.  I like to accomplish.  I don't like standing still or becoming stagnant in my service.  I feel guilty if I am not serving enough.  And I need to look to Jesus for my example of ministry and service.  

Jesus' ministry on earth was only three years.  In comparison to today’s church standards, Jesus probably wouldn't have been very effective.  He kept a pretty low profile, he healed people and then told the healed to not tell what had just happened.  He liked to be by himself, to seek the Lord and pray.  Jesus often stopped and took time to teach the children.  He would retreat on top of mountains, and go deep in the olive groves.  Even though He was very relational, He didn’t care much about making the most of his time talking to huge crowds.  In his three short years, he accomplished great things and yet he still took lots of breaks.  He didn't have a 3-year-world-tour plan calculated out for each and every stop and how it could be most impacting.  

He just sought the will of His Father.
He paused.
He prayed. 
He listened. 
He obeyed.  
He rested.  
He knew God.  

So here you are...you work, you have a family, you are active in church, you attend church on Sunday, Wednesday brings prayer meeting and kids zone, you attend or lead a women’s Bible study, teach Sunday school, sing in the choir, play an instrument for some special concert during Easter.  And your list goes on and on.  You accomplish a lot.  We don’t have time to think about how busy you are.  You just go, go, and go some more.  You don’t take time to rest.  You don't take a break.  And then your spiritual blade hits something hidden in your heart and you stop.  

The church needs us right?  How could we say no to the church?  If we don’t do it who will?  Can we really say no as a Christian and not feel guilty about it?  Taking time off makes us feel guilty.   That's why studying Jesus' ministry is so important for us overachievers and chaos causers.  The difference is that Jesus knew his limits.  And when he knew it was time to take a rest, he didn’t let anything get in the way of that.  Jesus was intentional with everything, so when he rested he did so with a purpose.  He said no.  Jesus didn’t assume the guilt either.  When he spent time alone, he knew he needed it.  He chose to do it and knew that if he didn’t he would soon be spread thin.

Doing with focused, rested intention... impacts. 

If you are overwhelmed with life and have a lot of chaos swirling around in your head and house, then slow down.  Start creating some time margins that help you breathe a little.  It’s okay to say no.  Go ahead…rest.  Jesus thought it important, why don’t you?  Don't kid yourself into believing that you can't take a break. This is the kind of thinking will only drive you to exhaustion.  And it's prideful to think if you don't do it no one else will.  Even God the Creator rested on the seventh day. Jesus constantly withdrew from the crowds to connect alone with the Father.

R-E-S-T!!!  S-L-O-W-D-O-W-N...  Jesus had the most important and perfect ministry of all.  Yet he still had time to accomplish His purpose on earth.  Whatever Jesus has called you to; don’t you think he has taken care of your rest breaks too?   He didn’t intend for you to scurry around with a crammed-packed-schedule with His calling on your shoulders only to wear you out for the sake of the gospel message.  He does ask us to be faithful to our calling and to trust Him for the results in what He has called us to do.  He has planned some seasons of rest and refreshing, because He knows we can't keep up with the break-neck speed the world tries to conform us to.  I need time to refresh and rejuvenate my soul.  Jesus knew you were going to need some rest too, so he showed you how He did it…He retreated and drew close to his Father.  He said no...because he truly understood a key ingredient of a powerful ministry--constant refueling by God's strength.

God commands you to rest. 

What do you find so hard about resting?  What is your "sweet spot"?   
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