Perspective Reveals What Lies Beneath

We are in a mad rush to finish our basement. Nana and Bill, my grandmother and grandfather that raised me when mom was young and a single mom, recently agreed to move in with us as they need daily caregiving assistance. Bill just went into the hospital Friday from an unexpected episode, and with winter coming, we don’t want them going back to keeping warm with a wood stove that Bill was having to light in the “not safest of ways”. So the push is really on! Hopefully we can move them in with us in two weeks since the drywall goes in this week!

And since we have a single mom and two kids that joined us here on the farm on Father’s Day of this year, our once tiny family of 3 has quickly expanded to 8. What a blessing! What a challenge! What an exciting time!

We have been trying to do as much as possible ourselves to build everything out. But at times, we need professionals for some of the plumbing, hvac, electrical, drywall finishing, etc. To make sure that the job is done right, will be safe, and will last. So I’m sore and tired from all of the extra work heaped on top of our already active lives, but I’m really looking forward to the time ahead together.

I came to bed after 2AM last night, working as long and hard as my body would allow since there is a need to be filled. And while I look forward to the day when we can sit in the rocking chairs or benches and look out over the field in peaceful rest and appreciation for how much the Lord has blessed us, I’m not going to put off today’s work to enjoy some physical rest while there is a need at our doorstep.

But I can tell you that while my body is sore, while it is still trying to recover its full strength from a long fast, I can tell you that my spirit seems refreshed, anointed, ablaze, and at rest in the peace and grace that flows from the Lord. I’m not anxious, I’m not worried, I’m not overwhelmed, even as the load of responsibilities and expectations is ever increasing. That’s just amazing!

It encourages me that even Jesus dealt with times where His body was weary from the work at hhand. Look at the scripture from when He met the Samaritan woman at the well:

Jacob’s well was there; and Jesus, tired from the long walk, sat wearily beside the well about noontime.
John 4:6 NLT

But Jesus had a divine appointment. He walked that long walk so that He could serve and share with this woman who was an “outsider”, an “undesirable”, a “disgrace to be seen with”. And He made that same long walk to reach me. He wearily dealt with my decades of disobedience and rebellion as I went off to play the prodigal son, with only concerns for my own selfish desires. And He showed up physically tired, but powerful spiritually to completely change a life forever.

And this is the example He gives us — not that we would seek comfort, health, wealth and ease — that we would do the hard work of a disciple who faces persecution, suffering, and challenge — but do it in an attitude and spirit of awe like Mary at the feet of Jesus. The contrast with Mary and Martha isn’t to convince us to be lazy or complacent instead of busy. But it is a lesson in what the spiritual looks like when it is manifest.

If Jesus had grouched at the Samaritan woman for not seeing that He was tired and weary, it would have revealed a troubled spirit like when Martha complained that Mary was not working. But if Mary had been happily protesting the meal for them, grateful for the opportunity to serve and love her friends and family, but Martha had been sitting in the room with Jesus but was frustrated or disinterested in His interrupting her planned rest time with His incessant teaching — Martha would have been corrected just the same.

Can you see what lies below the surface in each of these?

I wonder how many opportunities we have squandered where we could have either worked well “as if unto the Lord”, or rested well in the blessings of the Lord because we let our sin infected flesh grumble or fall into offense?

I wonder how many times we “got it right” and “patted ourselves on the back” for “our good work” instead of recognizing and giving God the glory for leading us?

I can tell you this -‘ were it not for the power of Almighty God, we wouldn’t be helping blend another family in need into our household, we wouldn’t be helping with snacks and name tags and help with a weekly Good News Club program, we wouldn’t be working to keep the Released Time program for District One funded and running properly, we wouldn’t be helping feed and counsel and serve a group of families that must employ in our home, we wouldn’t be going into the streets, jails, bars, clubs, and “dark places” to serve, encourage, and bring ther Good News, and we wouldn’t be taking our “hard earned money” or “limited time and resources” and spending it on others, on strangers, on family instead of on ourselves.

So today, like David, when he was delivered from his enemies, I can say:

I love you, Lord ; you are my strength. The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my savior; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety. I called on the Lord , who is worthy of praise, and he saved me from my enemies.
Psalms 18:1‭-‬3 NLT

Lord, thank you for giving us the very power of God to see radical change in our hearts, our desires, our character and nature. It is you who can heal a man’s heart, who can breathe life into things that were once dead, who can give us that blood of life giving waters that can send us into the streets sharing our testimony of the very life changing influence of your word and presence, into the field to sow your seed. Lord, we want to remember and remain in your peace and your grace, whether physically busy, whether physically resting, or whether physically worn out and weary. We do not want to be spiritually weary, weak, hindered, or ineffective for your purposes and calling on our lives today, in this moment, in front of this opportunity you have set before us. It is you who have won and are demonstrating your victory. It is your Word that calls us more than conquerors, that calls us Children of God, that calls us your ambassadors and new creations being conformed to your image. Help us. Be our strength. Help us to see the old man dead and you alive in us. Help our children to see you truly alive and isn’t and powerful so that they might no go the way of the prodigal but might live their lives in love with you, grateful for your sacrifice, trusting in your promises, fully surrendered known by you. Help us to love and serve our family, both blood and spirit, and to follow you, to walk with you, to abide with you, even in these last days we have here on earth. Teach us, guide us, and lead us to do your will, and to glorify your holy name. Amen.

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