Saturday, July 6, 2013

Time to Give Up

That's it.  I'm done.  It's the end.  The end of the trying, and the thinking, and the worrying.  The end of the planning and plotting, the running, the pushing, the pulling.

It is time to be.  Simply be.  To go through the day in peace.

God says "Be still, and know that I am God." (Psalm 46:10a).  

Jesus says "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart; and ye shall find rest unto your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." (Matthew 11:28-30).

It's time to follow the law.  The easy hard law.

"Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.  This is the first and great commandment.  And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.  On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets."  (Matthew 22:38-40).

What could be simpler than that?  And what could be more difficult?

I can't do that on my own.  My heart, my soul, and my mind are divided.  I am thinking of my kids, food, sickness, family, to-do lists, and the weather.  Church, and school, and jobs, and the garden, and the pets.  Allergies and camp clothes and washing clothes and doing dishes and cooking dinner and the pile of books by my bed that keep mocking me because I can't find time to read them.  How am I supposed to spend all of my abilities in loving the Lord my God, with all of this going on around me?  And how in the world do you spend all everything on God, and have anything left for your neighbor?  Especially when Jesus goes on to explain that your neighbor is, well, everyone in the world...ahem...

And then it goes back to church and clothes and food and school and jobs and sickness and more to-do lists.

But then I'm missing it.

Me, here in North America, in the land of plenty, I'm trying to put a camel through the eye of a needle. I have to shrink that camel down to a thread.  One thread.  And then I have to focus on the one little hole to put it in.

It has become more difficult to thread needles as my eyes age.  The hole and the thread tend to blur when I try to focus too close.  I've found I need my glasses for jobs such as this.  Sometimes I use my son's eyes (he's very good at threading needles!)

And I find that I need to use Jesus' eyes to be able to focus on God.  And then I need to switch burdens with Jesus - to give him my whole list of stuff, and take his list.

Jesus said:  This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.  (John 15:12).

Okay.  Love one another.  Not too hard, right?

Then the next verse:  "Greater love hath no man that this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."  (John 15:13).

Lay down my life.  That's the essence, isn't it?  My stuff.  My body.  My agenda.  Not important.  Love God.  Love others.  That's all.

"This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.  For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof...led away with divers lusts, ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth."  (2 Timothy 3:1-7).

I'm ashamed to think of how many of these have described me in the past, and even still do.  Paul warned Timothy to "turn away" from people like that.  So, I must turn from myself.  And the only place left to turn is to Jesus.  He is the only one who can wash the filth away.  To change me from the inside out.  To change my focus while he changes my clothes.  Sometimes I feel like I'm playing "Pin the Tail on the Donkey," and always missing the target.  I need glasses, instead of the blindfold I've been using up to now.

I need to be able to see Jesus, to see God, and to really see my neighbor.  And my soft, easy life has to be given up.  I don't want to ride into heaven in style.  I want to burn in like a shooting star, exploding, burned up for Jesus.

And it all starts with giving up.

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