I had the honor of speaking to my youth group on Sunday night. My topic was “Are you too busy” with Psalm 90 as my Sermon Reference. I think it went well. Here’s the lesson, small group questions are at the bottom.
Balance. Rest. Family. Priorities. Schedules. Work. School. . Relationships. All of these words are words we use to describe and identify what we value. Every New Year’s Day we make our resolutions, and for the most part, every year, those first three words are at the top of the list. We say we want to find balance in our lives, to find more time for rest so we’re not so exhausted, and we say we’re going to put our families first, but then those other words find their way into the mix, and usually by, oh, January 31st, we’re running around complaining of no time. So how do we find this elusive term called balance? Does God place any importance on this? Does God even care about how busy our lives are and if so, what does HE say about it? God has quite a bit to say to be honest. That’s what we’re going to dig into tonight.
I’m probably the worst one to talk about balance and the question of “are we too busy”? You see, if you didn’t know already, I’m a bit of a workaholic. I know, shocker. If you follow me on Facebook, you would have probably noticed me complaining about having to work a double shift occasionally, but I’ve actually slowed down from what I used to work. In college I usually had a 12-15 credit hour load, and then worked an average 20-30 hours per week, which is totally doable, but then I also added about 10-15 hours of ministry with Thomas Road Middle school department. I can also tell you about how when I first got out of the Army, I worked for the YMCA in a before school program from 6:30 am-8am, then two – three days a week I’d fill in at a nursery school until about 2:30, because at 3 I had to be at another school to work at an after school program until 6. Oh, and two to three nights a week I’d work overnight as a security guard at a nursing home from 7p-7am.
With all of that, I’ve learned quite a bit about burnout, about what it means to over commit, and I’ve learned hard lessons on the importance of balance and rest; most of all though, I’ve learned that I can’t do it all, and GOD doesn’t expect me to do it all. Psalms 90 has some interesting things to say, and the first time I read it through, only two or three verses really jumped out at me. That verse is verse 1o:
Our days may come to seventy years,
or eighty, if our strength endures;
yet the best of them are but trouble and sorrow,
for they quickly pass, and we fly away.
People look at this verse and say: “wow, I’ve got to pack a lot of living in a short time, because once I hit age____, I may not be able to do the same things” and before you know, they’re a workaholic, and the only relationships they have are temporary or surface. The problem with “cherry picking” verses to fit a world view is that it’s often taken out of context. Let’s take a look at Psalm 90.
1 Lord, you have been our dwelling place
throughout all generations.
2 Before the mountains were born
or you brought forth the whole world,
from everlasting to everlasting you are God.
I could hang out on this verse forever, but I’ll keep it simple. When David says the Lord is “our dwelling Place”, he’s saying “Lord, you are home.” God is our home. Think about that for a minute. Maybe, for whatever reason, you feel out-of-place, you feel disconnected, but if you’re a child of GOD, then wherever you are, you’re home, because GOD is our HOME. That’s a weird concept, but in verse two it says BEFORE. GOD was before everything and HE is from everlasting to everlasting. The GOD, who created us, is our dwelling place.
POINT 1: GOD is timeless, the one permanent and stable presence in this whole universe.
3. You turn people back to dust, saying, “Return to dust, you mortals.”
4 A thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by,
or like a watch in the night.
5 Yet you sweep people away in the sleep of death— they are like the new grass of the morning:
6 In the morning it springs up new, but by evening it is dry and withered.
7 We are consumed by your anger and terrified by your indignation.
8 You have set our iniquities before you, our secret sins in the light of your presence.
(***RABBIT TRAIL*** GOD sees what we do when no one is around, what we think, what we say, how we behave, the GOD that came BEFORE, the GOD that is our “home” see’s it all. That terrifies me, and humbles me. You know what though. Even though HE knows and sees all, HE still lives me with a passion I can’t fathom.)
9 All our days pass away under your wrath; we finish our years with a moan.
10 Our days may come to seventy years, or eighty, if our strength endures;
yet the best of them are but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away.
11 If only we knew the power of your anger! Your wrath is as great as the fear that is your due.
Verses 3-11 pretty much highlight how temporary our lives are, and many people use this to justify cramming their schedules and filling their day with activity/ministry/work, because the time is short. The only problem is that’s not the point of this chapter, and that’s really not the point that GOD wants. There is many a Pastor/youth pastor/evangelist/volunteer that starts out and believes that they have to be hard charging and that every moment has to be filled with ministry because the time is short and we don’t know when and GOD expects us to DO!!! No, HE really doesn’t.
POINT 2: Our days are numbered, don’t waste them by DOING
Verses 12-17 tells us to step back and breath and focus.
12.So teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
13 Relent, Yahweh![c] How long? Have compassion on your servants!
14 Satisfy us in the morning with your loving kindness that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.
15 Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us,
for as many years as we have seen evil.
16 Let your work appear to your servants; your glory to their children.
17 Let the favor of the Lord our God be on us; establish the work of our hands for us; yes, establish the work of our hands.
You see, it’s GOD that establishes us. David is telling us to take stock of our lives, use it wisely, find satisfaction in THE LORD first,
POINT 3: Do, but be focused about it, and most of all Let GOD establish the work.
There’s a saying that goes: Be a human BEING, not a human DOING. When you look at Christ’s 3 years of ministry, people have a tendency to focus on the work that HE did, but when you really take a look at the gospels, you’ll notice that CHRIST built-in time to rest. There were times when it was just Jesus and the Disciples chilling around the camp fire. When Jesus quieted the storm to the amazement of the Disciples, what was HE doing? He was sleeping. It isn’t some allegory/metaphor/teaching moment. HE was probably honestly tired, he was, after all, 100% human as well as 100% GOD, his human body and mind were probably worn out, and if HE seems a bit cranky when HE talks to the disciples afterwards, can you really blame HIM? We here it also from Christ HIMSELF in Luke 10:38-42:
38 As they went on their way, he entered into a certain village, and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word. 40 But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she came up to him, and said, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister left me to serve alone? Ask her therefore to help me.”
41 Jesus answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, 42 but one thing is needed. Mary has chosen the good part, which will not be taken away from her.”
Point 4: Don’t get so distracted by the “work” that you forget the purpose. The purpose of the work is CHRIST, and if you’re not focusing on the purpose, the “work” becomes a distraction.
Genesis 2:3 3 God blessed the seventh day, and made it holy, because he rested in it from all his work of creation which he had done. What does it say GOD did after HE was done creating? HE rested.
POINT 5: If God rested, shouldn’t we? Are we more than GOD? Verses 3-11 pointed out our “temporariness”, GOD wants to use us and do ministry through us, but if we’re so busy and distracted we not only become useless, but sometimes even an impediment to GOD.
We’re going to go into small groups now. The one thing I hope I got across to you guys is that it’s important to build into your ministry, into your life moments when you stop “doing” and start “being”. GOD placed importance in rest, shouldn’t we?
SMALL GROUP QUESTIONS:
- Talk about your schedules and how over packed they are. How is that dangerous?
- Why do you think we have to do it all?
- Does GOD expect us to fill every moment of our day?
- Can you list other moments that the BIBLE talks about Rest?
- How do you rest? (It’s a strange question, it’s like asking how do you worship? Are the two tied together?)
- Can you find other verses that talk about rest?