Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Time Out!

It's Thanksgiving week. That means it's one busy week! At the church things are really hopping, with the church newsletter deadline quickly approaching. Then there's edits in the membership logs, due by month's end. I still have to print off and cut the weekly bulletin for Sunday, get some much needed filing done, and make one more bank run. Add to this the fact that the office is running on a skeleton crew (me and another guy!), I'm doubling as the receptionist, and the week ends for us Wednesday, I'm running crazy.

How many of you can relate? I thought I was busy working a full time job and being a part-time youth pastor. Now that I'm a full-time associate pastor at a big church, I'm running from sunup to sundown. While I'm grateful that God opened a door to do this ministry, I'm ever grateful for a chance to slow down and get some quiet time!

Spiritually, we need this. I'm not just talking to pastors, I'm talking to moms and dads, employers and employees, to anybody with a pulse and a life. We get our lives and our schedules so full that we have no choice but to run nonstop till we either collapse from sheer exhaustion, or get sick and have to rest. In fact, we find that there are some our our Biblical heros of the faith that had to take time to get alone and pray, spending time with God undistracted. Just flip through your Bible, check out the story of Moses. 2 Million people sure know how to drain a guy. He spent weeks at a time in God's presence. I think of David, who needed to get alone with the Lord after he found the town of Ziklag had been pillaged and burned, and his and his men's families kidnapped. While his small militia panicked and even spoke of stoning David, he got alone with God and "encouraged himself in the Lord".

But I don't think we could have any greater example than that of the Lord Jesus Christ himself. I am just trying to put myself in his place, and it boggles my mind! Here was a man who had multitudes chasing after him constantly, all needing something from him. He had to deal with some rather hard-headed disciples every day. Then there were the Pharisees and Saducees that constantly grilled him looking down their noses at him. And this is all added on top of the knowledge that he was there on the planet with the purpose of dying the most brutal, tortureous deaths known. Can anybody say "stress"?

No wonder we read occasionally where Jesus had to sneak off to get some alone time with his Father. He needed a time out! While Jesus was fully God, let's remember that he was also fully human, and he dealt with human emotions and frustrations just like the next guy. Surely, with the issues he had hanging over his head, the Lord can understand the impending deadline on that make-or-break project at work. Certainly Jesus understands the bills that need paying, the kids that need doctors, the soccer games that need playing, the sermons need preaching. Add cooking dinner to that (maybe it's a pizza after a day like I've had!). Check out this verse in Hebrews 2...I pray that it gives you as much comfort as it does me.

Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.(vs. 17)

I like that. That passage tells me that Jesus isn't my halfway high priest. He isn't even my 2/3 of the way high priest. I'd be happy if that was all he gave us! But that passage says that he had to be made like his brethren! He came to this corrupt planet, put on skin like us, and he faced life like the rest of us-and he came out on top! And because of Jesus, we can too! Hebrews says elsewhere that human priests understood what other people went through. They are all human. Guess what? Jesus is human, too, and he also knows what a rough ride being human can be! Only Jesus can do something about it. He gives us his Spirit, that he happened to call our helper!

So, whatever you're passing through now, let me encourage you to do the one thing that will give you the strength to make it-get alone with the Lord and let him touch you like only he can! Take a time out!

God bless!

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