Monday, September 2, 2013

DANGER: Slippery Rail

PLEASE tell me I'm not the only one.  Have you ever thought to yourself, "Boy, if I could just catch a good case of the flu/ if I could just break a leg -- I could get all the rest I need."  I don't want to catch anything life-threatening or spend days in a hospital, mind you, but just a small mandatory vacation -- you know, doctor's orders and all that. 

But, is it really the desire to lie in bed which afflicts us, or the compulsion that drives us on when we should be lying in bed?  If a doctor sentences us to bedrest, then we have to do it, right?  So why don't we just do it because it is the right thing? because it is good for us to teach our children how to rest? because we are better spouses, better employees, better friends, better people when we get the appropriate amount of rest?

Most of us are no different when it comes to spiritual rest.  Lately, I've been noticing how stressed and empty I feel from time to time.  Lately, I've been noticing that at every turn God is telling me to rest.

I said a few months ago, that I felt God was telling me to get out there and live the gospel, and I don't mean He has rescinded those orders.  But, I realize I have separated the life of the gospel into two distinct operations -- the personal and the public.  In the personal part of my life, I read and study God's Word, listen to radio sermons, pray and worship.  In the public part, I do some of the same things, but I also run errands for others, chauffeur folks to doctor's appointments or other commitments, deliver meals, write notes of encouragement, donate blood, financially assist others as much as possible, and serve with various groups, ministering to those in need.  Believe me, not a bit of this am I saying to toot my own horn!  In fact, quite the opposite.

My life has recently become a whirlwind of activity.  For almost weeks at a time, I have dashed from one activity to another, trying to keep in balance those things I must do -- like work and sleep -- and those things I feel compelled to do -- like be all things to all people.  Yup.  I said it.  That's what's been going on.  Perhaps some form of guilt, perhaps it's as arrogant as it sounds, but something has been driving me to believe I have all this "free time", and wouldn't it be great if I gave some of it away to those who do not.  Something has been stirring me to pour myself out -- even just one last drop -- to someone simply because I can, because it is there to be poured out, because it is not mine to start.  And all that might sound very wonderful -- that whole pouring out thing -- but...

A) Is my motivation to serve or to fix?  To bless, or to cause others to conform to my ideal of how life should appear?  Am I elevating myself to a position of superiority -- a "have" over a "have-not"?

B) Does my personal life take a back seat when there is so much to be completed in my public life?

C) Do my actions directly, clearly, humbly point to Christ, or is it some roundabout theorem demonstrating that, "because I am generous, I must be different, and because I am different, it must be something supernatural (because we are really all the same), and if it is supernatural, it must be Jesus, and if it is Jesus others must desire Him because He is really good, because I am generous."  See what I mean? -- almost sickens me to write it.

My public life NEEDS to be an outpouring of my personal relationship with Jesus!  And, I'm not saying it didn't start there, and I'm not saying it doesn't go back for a visit now and then.  BUT, when my public life supercedes my personal life, when I choose waiting in line at the DMV with someone over interceding in prayer for them, or discussing Christ with them while we wait, I've gotten off track. 

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