Rest in God's will
Living on a ship that stays in a port for up to a month at a
time can be very difficult, particularly when you start to meet people and they
are so excited about the ministry that they want to take you out over and over
again so that they can bless you. Normally, it's a privilege to be taken out
because that way we can meet the local people, taste the local food, observe the
local customs and culture in a closer way and of course, bless them by
fellowship and ministry in return.
However, when you add going out and fellowshipping to the
daily routine of 8 hours work and extra ministry activities, it can become very
tiring. Being up late in the evenings does not bode well for getting up early in
the morning to start a new day.
On one particular day, I mentioned to a friend that I didn't
know how I could handle much more as I was so busy working amongst the young
people during the day, working part-time in a department and going out and
encouraging people at night, that it was getting a bit much and my body was
wearing out. My friend, who's a straight talker, said to me that I wasn't
supposed to be doing so much. Naturally, I objected and said that I always
wanted to be available for the Lord to use me, so she directed me to look up
Mark 1:35-38 and gave me a rough outline of what I would find there. It was
certainly not what I expected and thought that surely what she'd told me was
not what the Lord had done. When I went and read the story, I found that she was
In the gospels it tells us that Jesus used to withdraw and
pray often and so this was not new to me. Mark tells us that this one time,
Jesus got up early and went off to pray. After awhile, the disciples went out to
look for Him and after some searching, located Him and informed Him,
reproachfully, that everyone was looking for Him. (I can imagine that among the
searchers there were those that wanted ministry and His miraculous powers to be
displayed.) Jesus' reply was, "Let's go to a nearby town and preach
because that's why I came to this earth". (Paraphrased). He didn't seem to
give a thought for all those people who were left behind Him, who maybe needed a
miracle or a healing or ministry of some sort. He just got up and left!
It appears to be a rather callous attitude until we realise
that Jesus never did anything unless the Father told Him to do so. This being
the case, there was no way that He would have left that group of people unless
the Father told Him to. Previously I'd often wondered how Jesus managed to
prevent burnout when He worked with so many people all the time. Now it became
very clear that with the Father directing Him, the essential work that God
wanted done, was done and no time was wasted on the same project once the work
was completed to God's satisfaction.
Now I could see why I was burning out. It wasn't God's
will that I be available to others at all times to the detriment of my own
personal walk with Him. And, it was never His will that I try to decide what is
important and what isn't in God's long-term scheme of things.
One of the best ploys that the devil uses, if he can't make
us renounce the Lord, is to distract us. Naturally, he will try and move our
attention elsewhere with tempting and attractive packages but if he fails, he's
generally sure to succeed with busyness, particularly the kind that comes with
being busy about the Lord's work. In my own life I've noticed that I can
easily become satisfied with the 'amount' of work that I do for the Lord
without realising that often He has not directed that I do it in the first
place. The inevitable result is that I start to wonder why He's not sustaining
me while I do 'His work'.
The other important point that I needed to realise afresh was
that if I don't withdraw and spend that daily time with the Lord, how can I
possibly hear what His daily will for me is or acquire the wisdom to discern
what is from Him and what is not. In order to be effective for the Lord,
anything I have to give to others must be sourced from God DAILY.
If it was good enough for the Master to be spend time with
His Father on a regular basis, it's good enough for us.