Have you ever found yourself so overwhelmed with everything that’s going on that you have no idea where to start? Do you ever feel like an elastic band that is being stretched to the limit and you know when it breaks it’s going to hurt? How often do you wake up and wonder how you will handle today when you’re still working on yesterday?
I can’t speak for you, but brothers and sisters I am in that place today!
I shouldn’t complain as it’s a self-inflicted problem. Almost everything that is piling up is a direct result of my inability to say “no” when someone asks for or appears to need, help. “Oh I can take care of that” is usually what gets me in trouble. While sharing these monthly devotionals is something that brings me great joy, they too are part of the load.
In Hebrews, Chapter 12, our Christian journey is compared to a race where we are encouraged to focus on Jesus. What is often missed is the very sage advice contained in the very first sentence, “let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.” Hebrews 12:1 (NIV)
Throw off everything that hinders? Something has got to give?
We, as a congregation, have begun a journey in response to the changes in the doctrine of the Presbyterian Church in Canada. I find myself at the heart of the planning process and while we have embarked on a particular path with a destination in mind, we do not know everything we will encounter, or how we will deal with each obstacle. We do know that along the way we will be faced with many challenges, difficulties, attacks, and frustrations. There will be things that will test our faith, and stretch our patience to the limit. There will likely come a point where something has got to give. We will need to listen closely for God’s guidance in making the right decisions and choosing the direction that is pleasing to him. Along the way, if we keep our eyes on the prize – that will help us all to deal with the rough terrain.
Not one of us will be immune from the effects of this journey and I believe that more than any time in the life of our congregation, we need each other! We need to care for each other, we need to have patience with each other, we need to support each other, and most importantly we need to pray for each other – every day!
The journey we have begun is not a sprint, it is a marathon, and to complete the course we will not only need each other, but also we will need to practice self-discipline in our thoughts, words, and deeds. With that in mind, may I simply close with Paul’s commentary on the need for self-discipline: “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize”. 1 Corinthians 9: 24-27 (NIV)Am I tired? Yes.
Am I giving up? No! Now let’s run this race together and follow the course that God wants us to take.