I can never work hard enough to arrive at a place of rest. I think if I sprint now, working fast and furiously, I’ll be able to stop and rest a while from my labors. Not so. More work produces more tasks, requiring more hours. I can get so stressed out that my stress won’t let me rest. Sound familiar?
Imagine yourself in Jesus’ sandals when throngs of people pressed him to receive a miracle. The more he served those who were suffering, the more they demanded of him. Though he delegated authority to his disciples, demands on his time, energy and efforts continued to increase. How did he do it? How did he keep up with it all?
Jesus knew two things—how to say “no” and how to pull away. Each morning, he rose early to draw his strength from the Father. In prayer, he received daily strategies to do only that which the Father showed him and kept to the plan. This made it easy for him to say “no” to all who wanted a piece of him—even those trying to make him their king. Jesus set boundaries, kept most of his attention on the disciples, and ministered publicly as the Holy Spirit led him.
Many times, Jesus withdrew from the crowds to provide rest for himself and his disciples. His yoke for them was not demanding but easy. He worked and labored through “overflow.” He went about his Father’s business understanding the limitations of his human body. So he took time to eat, to sleep, to nap, and to withdraw from the crowds. His relationships with the Father and his closest friends were always a priority. From this balance of taking care of himself and maintaining relationships came Holy Spirit power. For Jesus, it was a life of overflow, not overwork. His spirit was at rest, his soul at peace, and his body renewed each day.
So how’s your overflow? Is it depleted from ignoring the gauge that measures the contents of your spiritual life? Have you set boundaries for yourself and your family, taken time to eat a healthy meal, planned enough hours for a good night’s rest, and kept your spirit-tank filled by spending time with Jesus?
I discovered long ago that when I dismiss a well-rounded pattern to my days, and fill it with work and more work until I’m exhausted, I lose in the long run. I become stressed out and burned out with little time left for God, my family, myself and my closest friends. You can’t sprint in a long-distance run, you must pace yourself or the race will consume you.
Take charge of your life now, or your tomorrows will only provide you with more work, not rest. Work and busyness won’t make you an effective disciple or leader, but overflow by engaging your spirit, soul, and body in a balanced way will make you effective.