Matthew 6:33-34 (NLT) Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.
After months of cleaning, organizing and showing our home, we now have a contract or pending sale. Not only that, we found our new home which is perfect for us. Well, it really is just like the one being left behind just a better location. With the primary focus of our weekend gone and our realtor and banker handling all the details, I find myself without a pressing issue this weekend. Of course, there is packing and a garage sale to prepare for but right now… today… and this weekend, I really have nothing that I have to do. Now what? I am of the Martha nature. I used to fill every single moment of my life with what I didn’t do, what I needed to do, and what had to be done. How about you? Did you know that this is also called worry? It is the primary source of stress. The enemy doesn’t level us with bombs. He buries us in stuff. Stuff to do. Stuff we need. Stuff we want. Stuff, stuff and more stuff. That is until there is the straw that breaks the camel’s back crushing us under cares and burdens that were never ours to bear. I am guilty as charged.
When I got up this morning, I commented to my husband how weird it was not to have anything to do. Longing for that thing called boredom, we nagged about as kids. Yet when I linger too long in the morning wrapped up in my comfy bed or stay in my pj’s something comes over me. A feeling of guilt. I am wasting time, precious time that cannot be reclaimed. We are by nature doers who evaluate our success and failure in life by our ability to overload it and manage it successfully. I think Christians are the worst. Just knowing Jesus makes me feel unworthy and the need to do something, anything just to give back. The truth is that His Grace is sufficient for me but I do not feel sufficient for Him. You know what? That’s my problem. Is it yours, too?
This is not a message for those who are lazy and irresponsible but a gentle whisper from the still small voice that meets us in exhaustion when we are overwhelmed and stressed. Like the Lord spoke to Elijah, He still speaks to us now, “What are you doing here?” We are called to a place of rest. As believers, we have the Mind of Christ which should be settled and secure in all things by faith and trust in the Lord’s Ability to call all things finished which was His Statement on the Cross. Recently a friend went on vacation, a godly woman who is very heavily immersed in ministry in our church. She went to the beach. Her place of natural peace and tranquility. She posted on social media upon her return of all the things she accomplished in the remaining hours since from her getaway. Yet now she needed another mini vacation. I believe that somehow this describes the inner struggle of many believers who love the Lord and feel the overwhelming and pressing need to serve Him well. He wants more than our time. He gave us our talent so there is nothing to prove. He wants to be the treasure of our heart. Jesus wants to be the One Thing who we cannot live without. He wants us to seek His Kingdom above all other things. It is a place of peace. In His Presence, there is rest.
Psalm 27:4-5 (NLT) The one thing I ask of the Lord—the thing I seek most—is to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, delighting in the Lord’s perfections and meditating in his Temple. For he will conceal me there when troubles come; he will hide me in his sanctuary. He will place me out of reach on a high rock.
One thing. Lord, let it be about one thing today. Not everything. Although professing faith and trust in the Lord, it is human nature to worry and stress in our doing. It is the standard measure of the world. Hard work. We admire it. Hard work and motivation are key qualities and assets in workers. It’s true. The Kingdom needs dedicated and committed laborers. Where are they? Worn out. Stressed out. Overwrought. Torn in too many directions.
A very wise man once gave an illustration to a youth group. He had a jar and an array of rocks, pebbles and gravel strewn across the table. He asked the kids if they thought all of the contents would fit in the jar. There were varying opinions and many tried unsuccessfully to fill it up. He took the large rock much bigger than everything else and put in first. Next he carefully arranged all the moderately sized pebbles around it. Finally, he poured the gravel in and it fit all the tiny spaces created by the contents of the jar. His message was “one thing”. Jesus is the One Thing that is most important to center our life around. There will be issues, problems, heartache and situations that take precedent in our life evidenced by all the pebbles placed in the glass around the big rock. Then there are all the light, momentary, temporary things that don’t really matter but are allowed by us to take residence in our life. Some will fit and some will fall away unnoticed. As long as Jesus is the One Thing we seek, the most important priority in our life, who fills each day with His Presence every “thing” else will fit together just fine.
Is your life utter chaos? Not God’s Plan. Do have trouble resting when it’s not? That’s not God either. God created human beings to have dominion over the earth and everything in it. Sin interrupted the tranquility of life offering compromises for our time, talent and treasure. It is when we invest all these commodities back to One Thing – seeking the Kingdom more than anything else that we will see the harvest of love, joy and true peace that comes from living in His Presence all the time.
Luke 12:25-27 (NLT) Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? And if worry can’t accomplish a little thing like that, what’s the use of worrying over bigger things?
The wealth of worry is an impoverished soul. Worry is the result of unresolved doubt that produces fear. Fear is really just the perception of a lie becoming a reality if only in our mind it is debilitating. There are people literally held captive and do not live based on fear and anxiety that is perceived and never a reality. Is that you? Are you afraid to stop? Are you too worried to let go? Is fear eroding your faith without even knowing it? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? No, in fact it is stealing precious time each day that could be wisely invested into things that count like prayer, praise, and worshipping the Lord. If worry cannot add one minute to our existence, why is it so worthy of it? It’s not. I am worried today that if I do nothing that I will waste the day. How silly is that? Where is the Sabbath, sojourn, and Selah called rest and peace? Being eaten up by the lie that I can do something apart from Christ.
I Corinthians 7:20-22 (NLT) Yes, each of you should remain as you were when God called you. Are you a slave? Don’t let that worry you—but if you get a chance to be free, take it. And remember, if you were a slave when the Lord called you, you are now free in the Lord. And if you were free when the Lord called you, you are now a slave of Christ.
By surrendering our life to Jesus Christ to be saved from our sin, a Child of God is no longer in bondage or slavery to sin. Sin was the only thing keeping us from God’s Presence. Now through Jesus, we have total access into His Presence each day. It is this very privilege that by His Grace we can come boldly to His Throne each day and live there. Because Christ paid a debt that I could not afford and can never repay, I am a slave of Christ and He has set me free. Free from worry, stress, fear and even doing all the time. He invites me to enter this foreign place called rest. Until I am able to achieve peace and rest in Jesus Christ, I have not chosen freedom for myself. Jesus offers it each day with the gift of mercy for all those times I didn’t trust Him enough to stop worrying about everything and trying to do it all. I think He smiles at my ignorance with a sideways grin saying, “You wanna try again?” The Lord offers us freedom each day and in every choice by offering to take care of it. What is my response? Freedom is achieved when we enter His Rest choosing above all things to live in the love, joy and peace. Total trust allows us to take time off, sit back and relax – not just physically but mentally, too. Jesus said it is finished. His Death and Resurrection did it all. He gave us everything when He released His Spirit for our benefit and blessing. What better way to honor that sacrifice than to try to trust Him a little more? We have been given a chance called freedom. We should take it.
Philippians 4:6-7 (NLT) Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
Don’t worry about anything. Worry can be hidden in good intentions and worthwhile activity. However, God has called us to a place of rest. It’s funny because our body will just give out. When our human strength has reached its limit, it ceases to cooperate with our brain. A person will literally collapse with exhaustion. Since our son has been healed, he will literally just fall asleep without notice for his body to recharge. Maybe that is why the Word of God speaks about peace that guards our heart and mind as we live for Christ. This is not talking to the lost and dying but the saved and sanctified who are worrying about things that don’t matter.
Getting a glimpse of this place called rest, to know a moment of God’s Perfect Peace will make you want it more. There is a faithful exchange that must be made to have such a life. We must diligently stop worrying about anything and everything. It doesn’t matter how much of our life that is given to ministry, missions and sharing the Gospel – worry tells us that there is still fear and disbelief hidden deep inside our heart, mind or soul. It must be rooted out and pulled up completely so that His Love can flow deeper as we become grounded in His Amazing Love. His Grace is sufficient for you today. His Power lives inside of you looking for a way out. It only happens by moving out of the way and allowing the Lord to rule and reign over every worry, care and burden. If you have nothing to do today, you are blessed. Rest in your blessing and stop trying to find something “worthwhile” to do. Just bask in His Presence. If you have too many things to do, maybe it’s time to take a minute to evaluate the contents to be certain that Jesus is the Center of it all.
Colossians 2:6-10 (NLT) And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness. Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ. For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body. So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority.