Strongest at our Weakest
Where are we going and why are we in this hand basket?
It’s getting increasingly difficult to stand here and watch the world around us crumble. Every time I turn on the news, there’s the latest on the increase in jobless numbers. Everybody has lost their 401(k) along with their job and our nation is wracked with worry and fear. So what do we do about it? What can we do about it?
I propose a simple solution to our economic dillema. As most of you know, I am not only horrible at math, I also have no clue when it comes to finances and money management, as my CPA can attest to. Luckily my method requires neither math skills nor advanced degrees in Economics. So how, you ask, do I propose to get us out of our recession?
Well, to start with, it’s going to take some creative accounting. First, we must stop counting our dollars. That’s right. Quit checking your stock portfolio, delete the link to WallStreetJournal.com, and throw away the business section of the LA Times. I’ll wait here while you do that. :::whistling::: Ok, done? Let’s move on.
Next, find out what the needs around you are. These aren’t necessarily just financial needs. These are marriages that are struggling. People with health problems. Friends that don’t know the Lord. People suffering from depression or who need to go deeper with God. Write them down and keep that list handy.
Finally, take time to pray for these needs on a regular basis. Not only are you benefiting those around you by taking their needs to the Lord, but you’re doing something for yourself, too. See, why is it that we are constantly stressed and worried about everything all the time? I believe it’s because we believe that life is all about us. When we focus on ourselves so much, we begin to get tunnel vision. Everything comes down to me. I’ll be the first to admit my guilt on this one. It’s so simple to focus in on what needs I have, what I lack, why can’t I buy everything I want. But what I ought to do is focus on others. Put them first. Bring their needs to the Lord both for their edification and mine. Putting others ahead of ourselves creates in us a servant’s heart. Putting others ahead of ourselves makes us more like Christ. And isn’t that the goal? Isn’t the goal holiness and maturity?
Does this mean that we shouldn’t go to God with our own cares and concerns? Absolutely not. God wants us to turn our burdens over to Him. But part of turning our burdens over to Him is leaving them with Him. We all have a tendency to lay our burdens down for a moment, then snatch them back up and re-shoulder the burden on our own. But when we lay the burden down and then take the burdens of others to Christ, maybe we’ll be able to finally lay our burdens down at the foot of the cross and leave them there.
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me–watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:28-30 (MSG)
Let’s lay down the trappings of our faith, the worry and fear that holds us hostage, the anxiety that threatens even our very health, and let’s instead take on a different kind of burden; one that doesn’t weigh us down, but lifts us up. Let’s stop focusing on ourselves, what we shall eat or what we shall wear, and instead fix our eyes on the author and perfector of our faith.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily hinders our progress. And let us run with endurance the race that God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from start to finish. He was willing to die a shameful death on the cross because of the joy he knew would be his afterward. Now he is seated in the place of highest honor beside God’s throne in heaven.” Hebrews 12:1-2 (NLT)
And while we’re praying for others, let’s make sure we’re praying for First Baptist Church of Maryville, Illinois. They’ve suffered a terrible tragedy and they need all the prayers they can get. May God hold them in the very center of His heart and bring them the kind of peace that only He can provide.