Fast. Getting up early, rushing to work, eating breakfast while at work, completing various tasks, communicating with many people (sometimes for fun and sometimes to counsel), running errands after work, trying to go for a walk, cooking dinner, cleaning up dinner, sitting on the couch for a few minutes, brushing teeth, washing face, getting in bed, saying our prayers, going to sleep. This is often the pattern of my day and while I’m not exactly sure what your day looks like, I can guarantee that most of the time you’d agree with me. It’s fast.
It’s sometime in the middle of the daily chaos that I find myself wondering what Jesus’ life would look like had he been here during this day and time. Would he be rushing from one event to the next, wearing himself thin with social, occupational, even church-related demands? Would he be in the center of the busy-ness?
Perhaps this week I’ve been struck by this question even more deeply because this is holy week. This is the week that Christians have an opportunity to openly celebrate the GREATEST of all gifts – the death and resurrection of Jesus, God’s son, on our behalf. And do I find myself reflecting in gratitude on what has been accomplished for me? Not frequently, because I’m too BUSY.
It’s a problem when I’m too busy to be grateful...when I’m too busy to stop and acknowledge that this week is to be a time of remembrance and reflection, a celebration of Christ’s resurrection (and all that it implies – thanks to Mike for his work on this sermon series). And I guess that this burden to “un-busy” myself gets me most right now for this essential reason: if I don’t have enough time to be grateful for this, the largest of all gifts, how can I be truly grateful for anything else? And worse yet, this lack of gratitude leads directly to my heart growing cold.
So, one morning this week, somewhere between the getting up early and rushing to work, I began to plead with God to soften my heart. I know my limits, and I know that I’ve currently been operating beyond them. It’s no surprise then that my heart has felt hard. It’s no surprise that I’ve felt as though I’m functioning on my own strength. And here's the cool part. Even when I can see that my heart is hard toward God, I can see that my heart has grown cold. And God gives me a gift: I become grateful for a heart that recognizes it's headed in the wrong direction.
While reading a devotional by John Piper Monday morning, the following words shot to my heart:
Does the perseverance of our faith rest on the reliability of our own resolve? Or does it rest on the work of God to “keep us trusting”?
It is a great and wonderful truth of Scripture that God is faithful, and will keep forever those whom he has called. Our confidence that we are eternally secure is a confidence that God will “keep us trusting”!
1 Corinthians 1:8-9 “The Lord will sustain (keep) you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.”
You see, busy-ness is a problem. It’s unwise of us to fill our days too full. But there is also reason to rejoice in the midst of it. Just as the small voice corrected and led me toward repentance, God will continue to do so. This is the gift: the Holy Spirit. The One who came to guide us through this life - who is alive in each of us who has claimed the name of Jesus.
So this Easter week, I have not daily reflected upon the sacrifice that was made on my behalf. And while part of me is remiss to admit this to everyone, there are some sweet lessons that God has taught me in the midst of it.
1. While this is a particularly exciting time for us as believers, we can rejoice about the resurrection at any time.
2. God is faithful to draw us back to Him.
3. I don't have to obsess about doing it "right" all of the time. "The Lord will sustain [me] to the end."
It's time to slow down, grow in gratitude, and rejoice for a God who doesn't let go! Then, we can say with gratitude, "He is risen!"