Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been a person on the go. I didn’t like naps then, and I don’t like them now. Instead of forcing me to take a nap, my mom would have me come inside each day between 1-3. It was her way of getting me out of the heat and forcing me to sit down. These days, that’s my wife’s job. She tells me when I’m too busy or when I need to take a break. I giver her push back like i gave it to my mom. Taking breaks and naps just seem so unproductive and and feel like a waste of time to me. The truth is that they are probably the most productive because they reenergize, refresh and refocus me. In the moment I can’t see that, but it’s true.
When I take what John wrote about Jesus saying that all the books in the world couldn’t contain all the things He did during those three years of ministry, and I read how the crowds constantly followed Him seeking healing, I know He was busy about His Father’s business. From sun up to sun down, day in and day out, Jesus was followed by crowds seeking something from Him. They followed Him in boats, walked miles around the Sea of Galilee just to meet Him on the other side. He was busy, busy, busy, but He also took time to rest. Even when the disciples came back after being sent out to preach, He made them rest. Mark 6:31 says, “There was such a swirl of activity around Jesus, with so many people coming and going, that they were unable to even eat a meal. So Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Come, let’s take a break and find a secluded place where you can rest a while’” (TPT).
When’s the last time you took a break? I mean a real break where you stepped aside, quit thinking and worrying about everything and just rested? If you can’t think of it, that’s been too long. God designed your body and your brain to need a break. Jesus constantly took them and He was still productive. God took a break after creating everything just to show us we need one. The word “Sabbath” means “to stop”. It’s not that the things you’re doing aren’t important. It’s that it’s more important to stop often. Your life and health are more important than the things you’re doing. If you’re busy like me, you’ll need to schedule your break and put it on your calendar. Taking a break is just as godly as being busy.
A couple of years ago I watched a video where they asked you to count how many times a group of people passed a basketball. After counting the number of passes, I felt pretty good about getting it right. That’s when another question showed up on the screen that asked if I noticed the bear moonwalking through the group of basketball players. I didn’t believe it when they showed me, so I started the video over looking for the bear. Sure enough, I was so busy trying to count that I missed the person dressed as a bear dance through the screen as they passed the ball around him.
In Matthew 12, Jesus and His disciples were passing through a grain field on the Sabbath. Since they were hungry, they picked a few heads of grain and ate them. Some Pharisees saw them and got onto them quoting the law of Moses that says you can’t harvest on the Sabbath. Jesus’ response seems odd at first, but what He said to them, applies to us. In verse 7, He said, “And if you had only known what this statement means, ‘I DESIRE COMPASSION [for those in distress], AND NOT [animal] SACRIFICE,’ you would not have condemned the innocent” (AMP).
Jesus was saying, “Don’t get so caught up in the law that you lose compassion. Quit using the law to condemn, and start finding ways to help people.” Yes, God gave us the Law, but it wasn’t intended for us to use it as a means to condemn or to keep us from living. We can’t live our lives bound by legalism. The sacrifice Jesus made on the cross paid for our sins, not our ability to follow the Law. We can’t miss what Jesus was trying to say here. God desires that you and I show love and compassion more than living a legalistic life.
If you were raised to live a legalistic life, listen to the words Jesus spoke to the legalism elites of His day. There’s more to the Christian life than following a set of rules. God’s grace is greater than your worst sin. Your salvation is not dependent on your ability to follow a set of laws or to hold others to those laws. Jesus wants us to trust God’s grace, love people, and help those in need. Don’t miss the dancing bear in the screen because you’re too busy following the rules too closely.
40 But Martha, overly occupied and too busy, was distracted with much serving; and she came up to Him and said, Lord, is it nothing to You that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me to lend a hand and do her part along with me!
41 But the Lord replied to her by saying, Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things;
42 There is need of only one or but a few things. Mary has chosen the good portion, that which is to her advantage, which shall not be taken away from her.
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