When I am writing lessons I find myself often trying to motivate people to be more invested in the mission of God. As I was writing a lesson last week I began to wonder if we don’t often develop a culture of Christian business where people are faced with positive opportunity after opportunity and feel guilty for having to say no from time to time. If we are not careful we become so busy with doing Christian things that we get burnt out or don’t find a healthy balance in life between which parts of God’s mission are active and moving and take energy and boldness and which parts of his mission are only accomplished in private silence when a Christian takes time to rest in God’s presence.
When you look at the life of Jesus you can’t help but see how active he is. He is going here and there. He is healing and teaching, traveling, and…resting. Since we try to imitate Jesus’ life and ministry it can be really tempting to imitate all the activity of Jesus but miss the down time that he also took. Jesus took time out of his busy schedule of redeeming the world to find rest with God. Two scriptures in particular that show this are Matthew 14:13 and Mark 1:35. What is interesting in the Mark 1 passage is that it is bookended by Jesus healing people. That means that when Jesus was resting and finding solitude that he knew there was more healing to do. He may have even known their names, their problems, and where they lived. Yet he didn’t go right to them. He stopped and found rest. There is a powerful lesson in there somewhere. We often become spiritual plate spinners. Jesus shows us that sometimes it is healthy to take the plates off the sticks, set them down, and find some rest. And maybe the next time we think about spinning the plates again we will get some help!
The Hebrew greeting “Shalom” is more than saying “peace” to someone. It is a wishing of the blessing of wholeness that only comes through a peace-filled life. It is saying “May you be well.” I think we could use a little more of that. It is often hard to say no to positive spiritual opportunities. But sometimes that is exactly what we need to do. Whether our cup is full or empty is directly to related to the amount and quality of rest we are able to find with God.
So, I scrapped my missional lesson on Sunday morning and I wrote a lesson on finding balance in being engaged in the mission of God. Being engaged in God’s mission does not mean our to do list has to be full. There are times we need to find more in less. Hopefully we can all strive for balance in life and ministry.