Daily D – Luke 4:43
But he said to them, “It is necessary for me to proclaim the good news about the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because I was sent for this purpose.” LUKE 4:43 (CSB)
Jesus healed Peter’s mother-in-law. The next thing you know, everyone who had any kind of infirmity was brought to Jesus as the sun went down on that day. “As he laid his hands on each one of them, he healed them,” (verse 40).
This apparently went on for a long while. Verse 42 says, “When it was day, he went out and made his way to a deserted place.” Even there, the crowds searched for him and tried to keep him from leaving. Jesus left anyway.
Jesus walked away from needy people.
It is nice to be wanted. It is good to be needed. It is dangerous to think we alone can solve every problem or meet every need. Moses’ father-in-law Jethro impressed these truths on Moses in Exodus 18. Everyone benefited from Moses’ course correction.
It is easy picking at this point to pivot toward talking about shared leadership. This is an important lesson Moses learned and benefited from, and that Jesus will teach and practice in coming chapters (See chapters 9 and 10). There is another lesson that is perhaps not as obvious but is just as important. It is the lesson of relaxed concern.
I have a friend who is moving from one position to another right now because if he does not, it could kill him. He has poured his heart, soul, and physical well-being into his work. His productivity and effectiveness have been astounding. However, for the last year or more, he has struggled with a life-threatening disease. He has pushed so hard, felt such a burden, met so many needs, that his health has been seriously compromised.
Truth: You cannot do it all.
Corollary: You were never meant to do it all.
Conclusion? Share the load, as mentioned above. Also, practice relaxed concern. You cannot do more than you can do. Do all you can. Recruit, train, and release others to share the load. Then relax. There will always be more to do than can be done.
This is not a cavalier attitude toward need and suffering. Instead, it is a recognition of limitation. Jesus did not heal everyone. Jesus did not solve every problem. If he did not, you will not.
Billy Graham’s daughter, Anne Graham Lotz, tells about how she nearly worked herself to death. Then she came to the realization that she was trying to do more than God actually wanted her to do. She was painting herself into a corner of ill health and despair. She could not get to sleep at night because of all the things on her mind that she needed to take care of. She says she felt like God stopped her and told her to go to sleep, he would take care of things while she rested.
I am not God. You are not Jesus.
We can do what he has called us to do and equipped us to perform. We can gather others to join us. However, the salvation and deliverance this world requires do not rest on our shoulders alone. Know God’s purpose for your life. Know best practices for accomplishing all that is before you. Know you must do what only you can do. Know how to entrust to God what is beyond your ability. Lie down and rest peacefully every evening.
Or as Kenny Rogers sang, “You got to know when to hold ‘em; know when to fold ‘em; know when to walk away; know when to run.” Otherwise, you will cheat yourself, cheat others of opportunity, and attempt to cheat God out of his place at the center of it all.
It is 5:39 AM as I write this sentence. In the next twelve hours, I will give God all I’ve got in faithful living, loving, and serving in one particular context. Then I will come home and prepare for what’s next. I will think through what went right, what went wrong, what was missing, and what was confused. I will address the core issues arising from these categories. Then I will lie down in gratitude for what was accomplished and for what is next.
I will leave the world outside my control to God’s care and provision. He is a better general than I am a lieutenant. As the old hymn reminds us, “This Is My Father’s World.”
I will remember who is in charge here (and it is not me).
Our Father, empower me for all that is before me today. I want to live your mission for my life fruitfully, effectively, and productively. I do not want my reach to exceed my grasp. Neither do I want to mail it in. I want to live in the sweet spot of who you have shaped me to be and where you have placed me to serve. I trust that just as you have a mission for me, that you have a mission for everyone else, and that you can do more with my relaxation than I can do with my work. Amen.
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Isaiah 41:10 Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will hold on to you with my righteous right hand. (CSB)
Isaiah 38:2, 3 Then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the LORD. He said, “Please, LORD, remember how I have walked before you faithfully and wholeheartedly, and have done what pleases you.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly. (CSB)
Isaiah 30:18 Therefore the LORD is waiting to show you mercy, and is rising up to show you compassion, for the LORD is a just God. All who wait patiently for him are happy. (CSB)