Honor: Who Are You Talking To?

restaurar-honor-mexico-compatriotasNoah began to be a man of the soil, and he planted a vineyard. He drank of the wine and became drunk and lay uncovered in his tent. And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father and told his two brothers outside. Then Shem and Japheth took a garment, laid it on both their shoulders, and walked backward and covered the nakedness of their father. Their faces were turned backward, and they did not see their father’s nakedness. When Noah awoke from his wine and knew what his youngest son had done to him, he said, “Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be to his brothers.”

– Genesis 9:20-25 ESV

This passage always felt a little extreme to me.  Noah plants some vines, grows some grapes, makes a little wine and proceeds to get himself drunk and naked.  Ham steps into Noah’s tent for whatever reason and sees the state of Noah.  He slips out and tells his brothers what he saw, the brothers take a blanket in and cover Dad up, and then Ham and his descendants get cursed.

I remember having this story told to me when I was younger and it was presented to me that Ham had mocked his father in front of his brothers completely showing disrespect to him, and that this was a sin against God Himself.  Well, I don’t see all of that here.  I see that he saw Dad and told his brothers and Dad cursed Him. That is what the plain English in front of me says, and I even checked it against the KJV, so we know we can’t argue with the facts presented as they are!

So, I’ve put some thought into this today to figure out why Ham was punished.  I see no mocking in the account, so, sorry flannel graph board, that was not the reason.  I see no overt sin against God either, but I am not going to say that is out of the question since Noah was God’s man at this time in history, and one thing you never want to do is mess with God’s man.  I think it all comes down to one simple thing – Honor.

We often hear about how we are supposed to give someone honor in the things that we do and say publicly.  Words of respect or actions that show people how much we esteem someone are common ways we express honor, but is that the only way?  I don’t think so.  Honor can also be shown in what we do behind the scenes.  We can honor people in authority by giving them honor publicly, and we can also honor them by not talking about something done privately.  I’m playing in an area here that needs to be worked out, so bear with me.

In no way am I suggesting glossing over the sin of those in authority over us.  That needs to be addressed, but out in front of everyone is not the most constructive way to do it.  It shows no honor to the person you are working with.  At the very least it shows your lack of respect, and in reality, it is just gossip.  It brings no help to the situation, and will lead to a painful result for those involved.Slide1

Let’s play this out a different way.  Noah gets drunk, Ham stops by to see how Dad is doing and sees his Dad passed out and in an embarrassing state.  He grabs a blanket and covers him up and waits outside for Dad to wake up.  Shem and Japheth swing by and ask what he’s doing and he says, “Just waiting to talk to Dad.  He’s taking nap.”  Noah wakes up and steps outside to see Ham waiting for him. “Dad, can we talk?”  I’m betting there would not be a curse there.  Ham probably would have just taken a big step in Dad’s eyes.

Sin is sin.  Whether it comes from me or from someone in authority over me, it is sin.  My response to that sin will say a lot about where I am in my journey.  I have a choice to reach out privately and show honor to a person who has done wrong, or I can just take it to anyone around with an ear that is not preoccupied.  While gossip is a culturally accepted norm, it is not a Relentless way to live.

Relentless Growth demands a higher standard of honor.  It demands that the matter be addressed in a way that allows the offender to maintain dignity and take ownership of their behavior.  Honor is given.  A relationship is allowed to strengthen. Forgiveness and restoration can take place.  Here’s the clincher – nobody else needs to know about it.  Granted there are always going to be things that happen that do need to be disclosed, but following this allows the offender to do it with honor by admitting they were wrong and being accountable for what they did.

I’ve been on both sides of this issue in the past.  I’ve handled both sides of it well at times, and terribly at times.  If we are honest we all would have to say the same thing.  Nice thing is, that is all behind us now.  When we wake up tomorrow, we will have a new opportunity to do the right thing.  Feels good, doesn’t it?

So, think about that person who has done you wrong.  What are you doing about it?  Have you gone to them to talk?  Have you gone to someone else?  What do you need to do to make it right?  What are you waiting for? You’ve got a great chance to grow through this, and you might even help someone else grow too!

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This is the last post of 2014.  If I have done my math correctly my next post will be my 100th post, and the beginning of my third year writing this blog.  Hard to believe that I have been doing this for two years now!  I appreciate all of you who have been reading, and I hope that I have made it worth the time.

I’m excited to see where God takes me over this next year.  He has been doing some things in my life that have had my head spinning, and I am constantly amazed at how His hand is working day in and day out.  I want to continue to share that with you all, and I hope it encourages you to be Relentless in your growth in Christ.

Thanks for reading!

Tom

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Humility: Your Best Escape From Satan’s Reach

9.1.ChristLikeHumility_610947592I mentioned in my last post that I was going to start reading my Chronological Study Bible, and I have really been enjoying it.  Even as I go back through some of these old stories I have known since I was a little guy, I am excited at what God is showing me at this stage in my life. Yes, I am older now with gray hairs and all, so maybe I am just seeing things through an eye that has had to come to grips with a bit of life, so this is making more sense to me now…  Anyway, moving on…

In the account of Adam & Eve in the garden I read something the other day that got me thinking, and then some things happened, I read a quote, and another verse dropped in my lap and I got thinking even more. I have chewed on this for a few days,and now I am ready to write down my thoughts. So, buckle in if you want!

We all know the story of Adam & Eve and the fruit of the tree.  God had put them in the Garden with so many things they could eat and he told them to not eat just one thing.  In reading the account, the command was given specifically to Adam in Chapter 2, but when the serpent made its way into the Garden in Chapter 3, we can see that Adam did pass the message on to Eve – although he might not have been clear.

You see, Adam was told very clearly, “Don’t eat.” However, when the serpent confronts Eve she delivers a slightly different version of the rule to the serpent, “Don’t touch OR eat.” Why the difference?  Not sure.  Is it possible that Eve added that bit herself?  Is it possible that in an effort to protect her, Adam recommended the extra step?  Not sure, but I think in adding that little item, whoever tacked it into the job description, it could have been a contributing factor to the Fall.

See, after Eve tells the serpent that she can’t even touch it, the snake knows that he has her.  There is a falsehood in play now that he can use.  In chapter 3 we see the following exchange:

1Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made.He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” 2And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, 3but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” 4But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.

– Genesis 3:1-6

After the serpent told Eve she would not die, I think that she stepped up to the tree and gave it a harder look.  I think Adam was there behind her and was watching to see what was going to happen, but didn’t step up and stop anything.  Eve probably reached out tentatively and very slowly touched the fruit of the tree with a finger tip and NOTHING HAPPENED!  Then she probably took the fruit in her hand and NOTHING HAPPENED! Finally she pulled it from the tree and NOTHING HAPPENED!

At this point what is she supposed to think?  a full 50% of her knowledge regarding behavior toward this tree is now out the window and she is seeing no problems.  Then she looks at the fruit. It looked like it would be good for food, it had a pleasant appearance and looked ready for a bite, and the clincher, “What if it really makes me as wise as God?”

*Crunch*  “Here, Adam, you try.” *Crunch*

And that was all it took.  The temptation had set in, Satan’s trap had sprung, and mankind was now facing a death sentence.  Why?  Because of a lack of humility.

Slide1Jonathan Edwards said it very well, and when I saw this quote the day after reading this passage, I knew I wanted to use it:

“Nothing sets a person so much out of the Devil’s reach as humility.”  Let that simmer for a bit.  Really let it bubble.

What would that have looked like if Eve had chosen humility?  She would have recognized her desire to be like God as a matter of pride.  She would not have eaten the fruit. She might have realized that the serpent was trying to destroy mankind in telling his half truths.  She may have even had Adam step over and do a little pest control!  I’m not sure, but she allowed her relationship with God to be at a place where she considered herself at the minimum, equal with God in that moment.

We all have moments that we are like this.  Think about the times that you just want to other person to admit that you are right.  The times when you just want to have your way.  The times that you just want to be heard.  None of this things are inherently wrong, but what do they potentially lead to?

In my case they have led to harsh words with no thought to the other person’s feelings.  They have led to angry words intended to tear someone down.  They have led to yelling that accomplishes nothing at the end of the day other than, yes, I was heard.  They heard that I was loud, opinionated, and basically, a jerk.

Humility would be a better choice.  If I look at my position and actions as a way to better someone else rather than make myself look good, then I am acting with humility.  If I take the time to determine whether I am looking for something to make someone else feel better by enduring or not allowing myself to lash out, I am acting with humility.

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I am not a humble man by nature.  I have struggled with a need to be right, to be heard, to be acknowledged for much of my adult life.  I hate that about me, but I am not content to stay that way.  Relentless Growth demands that I put myself in a back seat, but it is more than that.  Like Mr. Edwards said, humility is not just sitting back and taking a lump for somebody else.  Sometimes it is a conscious thought-out decision to stand up against Satan and say:

“No.  I have no right to this feeling of indignation.  I have no right to this feeling of injustice.  I am a child of God, bought at a high price that was not deserved.  By allowing my feelings to override what I know to be right according to God’s Word, I am placing my desire to be right over His command to do right, and I will not do that.  I will humble myself to avoid the sin.”

Peter also said it well:

So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor.

– 1 Peter 5:6 NLT

Relentless Growth.  Sometimes it might feel like you are dying to do or say something, but when you choose to be humble in Christ, you are throwing roots down so deeply into Him.  Maybe that’s all we really need to remember.  When we choose humility over exercising our “right” to be heard or obeyed, could we really be acting more like Christ?  Probably not.

Thanks for reading.  I really just wanted to share this with everyone because it really spoke to me.

In HIS Grip,

Tom

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A Journey Begins

0bc4684I am a bit of a homebody.  I have my little piece of land here that I live on, and it really is my favorite place to be.  I like the familiar, the known, order… Yes, some call that boring.  Maybe it is sometimes…

I like to stick with what I know, but I know that there is a growth that comes from trying new things too.  I have now eaten Chicken Cordon Bleu.  I actually liked it!  (Yes, the best example I can come up with for expanding my horizons is food.  Gotta work on that…)  I have tried several new things over my life, and some of them have made me very happy, and the others have not killed me, and I have learned something from them, so I guess new things always leave me better off!

One area that I have stuck to the familiar is in my Bible reading.  I might have read a paraphrase or a different translation from time to time, but my method has largely stayed the same.  I start at the beginning of a book and I read to the end of it.  The amount I read may vary, and the timetable has always been free to move around, but I, on the other hand, only move from the beginning to the end. Orderly.

This morning I sat down to have a quiet time in the Word where I have been reading in Isaiah, and I wrestled with it.  I have been reading there for a couple weeks, but I am struggling to get something out of it.  I know God has truth throughout His Word, but I have felt like this passage is just not speaking to me where I am right now.  It is like being in a house with someone you are trying to have a conversation with, but they are in another room.  You pick up the occasional word, but it is not conducive to understanding.

Presentation2So, the question becomes, “How do I get into that room with God?”  I want my times with God to have purpose.  I want to know His story, His desires, His people, His plans.  I want to better understand the Bible as a whole rather than looking at the snapshots of a single book at a time.  I want to see how He works His way through the entire Bible and to see the flow of His desire to know us, redeem, us and sanctify us!  I need the whole thing, not just a book at a time.

I have read the Bible through several times in yearly reading plans that start at the beginning and run to the end (Ah! familiar!)  It feels like a race, and I never got to enjoy the journey, and some of those books were just plain torture to get through!  I know it is all important, and the Word is timeless, but I did not look forward to it for any purpose other than to say I read it.  Not a good reason to read.  The purpose of reading the Bible should be to get to know God better, not to put a check in the box for the day.

Presentation1So I started reading a single book at a time and going through them by smaller segments, and that has been very good for me, especially when going through the letter of Paul in the New Testament, or reading through the Judges in the Old.  It allowed me to chew smaller bites and savor them a little more.  There are those books in the Bible that bring so much action or intense teaching that you cannot pull yourself away from it!  What about the others?

A few years ago, I requested a gift for Christmas or my birthday.  I got a Chronological Study Bible.  I thought it would be interesting to look through it from time to time and see how things tied together if I was doing a lesson on a particular story in the Bible for a class.  I have used it off and on again over the years, but it has largely rested on the shelf next to my desk collecting dust.

This morning I pulled it out.  You see, I want to know what God has for me to see in the books and chapters that we don’t always hear in church.  I want to know the Truth He has in the lists, descriptions, and lineages that I generally skip over.  I want to better understand His instruction to the people and His warnings in the books of the prophets.  I feel a desire to break into something new that will help me see His Word in a different way.

Chronological-Study-BibleSo, this morning I started reading chronologically.  It starts, of course, at the beginning with the familiar account of Creation, but that is fine.  There we see the order of God, where one day leads to another.  As I get deeper into this I will start to see where the editors have taken the Bible apart and then put it back together so the parts we tend to skip are mingled in and I can better understand their importance as the unfold in “real time”.  I look forward to a better appreciation for these parts I have hurried through in the past.

So, I am looking at this as a journey.  It’s going to take longer than a year to do it, but that is fine.  I have the rest of my life to get to know God better and to be changed by Him.  This is part of a Relentless Life. Driving and pushing to know God better and not accepting apathy in reading His Word.  It is alive, and I want to break it open and get everything out of it that I can.

This is my journey to know God better.  What is yours?  Are you spending time with Him regularly?  There are many different ways to read the Bible, as I have mentioned a few here.  I don’t think there is a wrong one.  The most important thing is to get into it and experience His Word!  Don’t worry about where you are, or the things that you have going on.  Just get to know Him!

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Grief, Relationships & Hope

 

grief2November 18th, 2014. Our little town lost two people in a heinous act of domestic violence.  It rocked our little town to the core.  There are still so many questions, so much pain, and no small amount of anger that this happened.  A mother of four is gone.  A husband is gone.  The grief remains.

Saturday, December 13, 2014, I attended the memorial service for Tiffany Ferguson and her dad, Jim Webber. The church was packed with people who came out to pay their respects to those left behind, to offer support to each other, and to say goodbye.  The community came together to show that it was united in grief and loss, but also in a commitment to stand with Tiffany’s mother and children.

I graduated with Tiffany, and most recently, I worked with her at the hospital.  We were both 4-H parents that worked with our kids at the county fair.  I wish I could say I knew her better as a person, but what I did know was good.  I did not know her dad at all, but from what I heard, he sounded like a good man.

This post is not like others I have written.  I think in some ways I just need to sort through my thoughts on a couple of things, and lately, this has been a good way for me to do that.  I just want to share some of my thoughts as I sat there in the congregation and listened and observed.

1. I saw the importance of relationships.  Tiffany was one person, but wore many “hats”.  She was a mom, daughter, runner, friend, co-worker, student, involved parent, committee member, and many more things.  Through those many hats she wore, she was known throughout the community.  I saw many people there who had lost someone they cared about.  The reasons they cared were different for everyone, but at the end of the day, Tiffany had many friends, acquaintances, and supporters, who now feel a hole that she filled.

Looking around the auditorium, I saw people clinging to each other as they wept, silent nods of the head, hugs, offers of tissues, and some laughter as well.  People were relying on their remaining relationships to help them cope or try and make sense of things, or maybe just to get through the service.  Whatever the reason, I saw acted out in front of me that in times of need, pain, grief and trouble, we naturally reach out to the relationships we have for strength, courage, and support.  It was good to see that.

2. I saw the importance of hope.  At one point, the pastor brought Tiffany’s son up on the platform to sit with him.  He was excited to have the chance to be on the platform and look out at the people.  Earlier in the service, the pastor had talked about his own loss of his father as a young boy, and how the people around him rallied around that young boy and poured their lives into him.  They were not trying to replace what he had lost, but they were there to walk beside him, to give him love, to encourage him to keep moving forward.

Watching the pastor sit there on the platform with his arm around the little boy while we all listened to a song, my eyes filled with tears.  In the middle of all of this loss, that act was, in my eyes, a glimmer of hope.  Hope for that young man and his siblings.  Hope that our community can and will rally behind them. Hope that people can make a difference.

After leaving the service, I thought more about the need for relationships and hope.  What makes them so powerful?  What is it about them that gives us power to keep going?

We need relationships. One of the most difficult things for most people to deal with is being alone.  Sure, for a little while, it is nice to have the house to yourself, to be able to do what you want, when you want, and how you want, but what about when you are hurt?  Who is there to help you?  We need people in our lives that can identify with our pain, with our weaknesses.  We need people to laugh with us, cry with us, or just sit quietly with us.  Just having someone there with you can make life better.

We need hope.  Read the stories of men who were POW’s during WWII or Vietnam.  Time and again, I have read their accounts of watching their fellow prisoners die after something happened that took their hope away.  When we have a reason to keep going, we can keep going.  When hope is gone, the burden is heavier, the clouds are darker, and the pain takes us over.  We need something to cling to as a goal, a vision of the other side, a belief that we will endure and not only survive, but have a victory.

Of all the relationships I have between family, extended family, friends, co-workers, church-members, and so many more, there is one relationship I value above all others because it makes all the others better.  My relationship with Christ makes the marriage I have sweeter because I can model Christ’s love for the church.  It makes my friendships stronger as I see how He interacted with His friends, the disciples, in times of peace, accountability, and loss.  It is my relationship with Christ that makes me a better servant to those around me because I saw His servant heart.  I’m not Christ.  I’m not perfect, but I am learning, watching, Relentlessly growing in my relationship with Him and with others.

That relationship has brought to my life a hope that burns brighter than my hope in any other thing.  My relationship with Christ has brought me security for eternity.  It is foundational in how I look at things.  No matter how bad things are, and at times they are quite bad, I KNOW my future is secure.  This life is short.  Sometimes, painfully short, but eternity is a long time, and I know I can endure things here because of the peace that salvation has brought to my heart.  I need not fear loss, pain, hardship, or anything else.  My God is bigger than them all.

This is not to say that I don’t hurt.  I do.

This is not to say that I don’t get scared.  I do.

This is not to say that I have it all figured out.  I don’t

This simply means that today, in the middle of a memorial service for a friend and co-worker, at a time of loss for her family and closest friends that I do not pretend to know, God reminded me of what I have in Him.  A friend that will never leave me hanging, and a future that cannot be taken from me.

I hope that my words do not offend anyone who has been rocked by this loss.  That is never my intent.  I hope that if you are reading this, and it stirs a yearning for a relationship that brings you that kind of hope, that you will reach out to me or someone else that can help you have it.  I would be honored to speak with you.

 

As For Me…

 

10455157_10152594570874022_1317384162455803489_nI posted this picture the other day. It was a pic I shared from a Facebook page, and it got some attention from some of my friends. A few of them “liked” it, and some others mentioned it to me as I went through the rest of my week. There were a couple folks that seemed to not like it, and I got the idea they thought I might have been a little “preachy”.

When I saw the picture, my thought was simply that it was cool! I love the way that Rough Cut Men put these slides together, and I like to let my friends see them. A couple things happened that have made me think about that pic a little more though. I’d like to share if you have the time.

Today I was “confronted” or you could say “battered” or “assaulted” with some stuff on Facebook from a couple of friends that I know are believers. The content was not appropriate for public viewing, and was definitely not something that a Christian should be putting out there. It made me sad. I wasn’t angry. I was just saddened by the message and how it reflects back to a believer’s relationship with Christ.

I think back to the old quote,

Presentation1Before anyone gets upset, let me introduce myself. My name is Tom. I am a sinner. I was born a sinner. I will die a sinner. I try not to sin as much as I used to, but I still do it. I do wrong things, say wrong things, and I think wrong things. This is who I am, and as a result of that, I am not looking down my nose in judgment of anyone.

I am a sinner, but I am a redeemed sinner. That redemption does not keep me from sinning, but if I am living a life of Relentless Growth, then the redemption should make me more sensitive to the sin in my life, and more sensitive to the harm it has in other’s lives as well. Even more, it should make me see that engaging in wrong behavior is going to keep me from growing in Christ and could damage the work of the gospel because of my example.

So, why does this picture mean more to me now? Because we live in a very “social” world today. To many people we know, our identity is made up of Facebook posts, Twitter, tweets, and Instagram photos. In these bursts of communication through social media, we are showing what matters most to us, what is on our hearts and minds, what drives us, what we like, support, and identify with.

For some, that will be selfies, fluffy kittens, jokes, or food. Those things aren’t wrong, but are they your identity? What about the content that you like or share? Do we take notice of where we are getting things, and what they contain?

I know there are people who flee the world of social media because they see it as a cesspool of humanity. They are wrong. It isn’t a cesspool. It can be a dark room to be sure, but all a dark room needs is light.

I want my presence in social media to be one of light. My goal is to make people think with the words that I use and the things that I post. Not to make me look good, remember, I’m not! I just want to use these avenues as opportunities to help push back the dark a bit. It’s a battle worth fighting.

So, I guess I would like to make a request, a challenge, and announce a goal.

Request – if I say something in my posts either here or in any other form of social media that you feel would pull people from a Relentless pursuit of a relationship with Christ, CALL ME ON IT! Let me know somI can pull it down. I don’t want to be a stumbling block.

Challenge – Join me! Make today the day that you look at your media presence as an opportunity to serve God and push back the dark in a place that desperately needs it! You might lose a couple “friends” but your cousin’s English teacher’s nephew was probably not a close friend anyway, and you might even show some friends something worth seeing, a Relentless Life in Christ!

Goal – Here is where things might get rough. If I have something come across my wall that has that potential to pull me from Christ, and I know you are a believer, I will message you privately and ask you to consider it. Your call if you want to pull it down, but I want to at least ask you to consider it. I may be unpopular after that, but If I am a friend, I need to do it.

Presentation2I want to serve God. The picture is a modern version of this verse from Joshua.  At the end of his life, he laid down this challenge to the people of Israel.  A challenge that echoes through the centuries to us today:

Relentless Growth requires us to look at things with different eyes. We need to challenge the norms of society and we can do that by redeeming the things that others may use to tear people down. So, how about it? Who wants to join me?

Relentless Growth -> Grow Deep -> Grow Strong

The Trees Are Moving!

p8hfLAy.png“The Ents are going to war!”

-Treebeard

This is a post that will probably be re-posted a few times as we go through the month of December.  January marks the beginning of my third year writing this blog, and for those of you who were with me at the beginning, you probably noticed a lot of changes over the first year in particular.

My hope is that you saw the writing improve, but I am not speaking of that.  I made a ton of changes in format, background, the name of the blog, all kinds of stuff.  I enjoyed the trial and error of it all as I settled in on what I believe God was trying to get me to do with this thing.  Share my goal of Relentless Living and Growth in Christ!

Just like the blog had a lot of trial and error, my life has been full of it as well.  I would like to say that I have things figured out in totality, but I will settle for the format of the blog for right now!  I think it is finally dialed in to reflect who I am and what I am trying to do.  So, what does this mean?

I am moving the blog to another page beginning January 1.  I will post any new content between now and then on both pages, but after January 1, you will want to be a follower on the new page if you want to get the content.  Those on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Linkedin will still see the posts as they are announced.  The pages are going to look very similar, and if you are only clicking in, you will probably not notice anything has changed.  I am more concerned with those following the blog not being able left behind.

Treebeard had to make a move in Lord of the Rings, and I am making a move to get my blog site title to match the name of the blog.  The battle to grow is still on, and just because I am pulling up some roots, that doesn’t mean we are not still going to push to grow deep and strong.  The Relentless Growth blog is just getting going, and my prayer is that God will use this for years to come.  Not so people can know about me, but so people can know about my God and what He is doing.

So, the new spot will be relentlessgrowth.wordpress.com.  I hope to see you all there!

Tom

Relentless Growth -> Grow Deep -> Grow Strong

Where Are You Weary?

10-tenselonelyMen weary as much of not doing the things they want to do as of doing the things they do not want to do.

– Eric Hoffer

I read this quote about a month ago, and it has been flitting around in my mind ever since. (There is a lot of room in there, so it has pretty much had the run of the place.) Once you read it about four times (I had to do it slowly and out loud) and really think about what it is saying, I think you may spend some time mulling it over as well.  It is a powerful statement, and very accurate. But what does it mean in my life?

Weary is a word that I have had as an unfortunate companion in life the last 10 years or so. It was with me through a change in churches, a change in jobs, a change in finances, a change in friendships, and changes in my service in the church and to God. I have written before about how weariness has been persistently dogging me. This little quote has made me think about why that is.

As I look back over the last few years, I see a lot of weary times that I have endured. My wife has gone through them with me. Times when we are busy doing so many things, and we find too often that they are not things we even really wanted to do. That’s hard to face.  Especially when you had all the best intentions going into it. Sometimes you just need to finish the row before you can walk away, but it is foolish to start another one!

Another way to look at getting weary of doing the things that you don’t want to do is that sometimes we get involved in doing something without thinking about the cost of it. We go in without checking the water, thinking everything will be just fine. Then we end up treading water before we realize it, and we start feeling the damaging effects of sin in our lives, but we are now so deep we must fight our way out. It leaves us tired.

Doing things we don’t want to do will make us feel weary. That just makes sense! Energy put into an unwanted endeavor seems to take a double toll. The waste of time, resources, energy, or other opportunities is enough to make us want to avoid things we don’t want to do altogether. Makes sense, right?

The problem with that is that sometimes the thing we don’t want to do is the good and right thing to do. It may be the very thing God wants us to do, but we don’t like it so we don’t request His help in it, we don’t experience the joy of working on it with God, and we end up wasted, worn, and weary. By taking our focus off God and putting it on our feelings, we miss the joy of working with Him, and the energy of the Spirit working in us!  The Bible says:

“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”

– Galatians 6:9

How many reapings have I missed because I gave up before the work was done? Sad to think about. God has things to give me, but I turned away because I thought they were too hard. I’m letting that sink in. How about you?

So what about becoming weary from not doing what we want to do? Is that really a thing? Yep. It sure is. Whether it is a desire to go back to school, teaching, learning to write, how to play an instrument, or starting a new career, we can grow weary of living a life of, “I wonder what would happen…” I know I have struggled with that.

Sometimes I think that is why I lost my old job. God just decided that I needed to get into another career where I could use some of the other gifts he had given me that were sitting stagnant. It was time to stretch, but I was afraid. It was time to grow, but I was “comfortable”. It would be too much to try something new.  The thing is, I was miserable!

I ran into my old boss yesterday, and as glad as I was to see him, I was reminded of how miserable I was in that job! The time away from home, the long hours behind the wheel, the lack of interaction with people. It was terrible! Why on earth would I hang on to that? I remember how tired I was of the job. I hated going to work in the morning, but I was unwilling to take a chance to do something else. I am so thankful God had a better idea.

Weariness is something we all face from time to time, but we need to evaluate why we feel that feeling. If it is a physical reason, then address it! Get more sleep, eat better, exercise! (All things I need to do!) You should see a change as better stuff coming in makes you feel better and gives you more energy.

If you’re not seeing a physical problem, then it is time to look within. I know for myself the main thing that affects my attitude is what I am concentrating on. When I am putting a focus on daily spending time with God, He changes the way I think. He changes the attitude I have. He changes my perspective in my situation. He changes my energy level. He changes me from a weary man to a man that sees a purpose.

There are a lot of books out there that are telling you to focus the power of the mind. Are they correct? I’d say in part that they are. The mind is a very powerful thing, but a mind focused on Christ and His redeeming power at work in your life? That is something that leads to you a Relentless Life. So, how about it? Are you weary? Are you looking for a solution? Are you willing to do what it takes? Get in the Word! The answers are there.

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