Following Jesus is no joke. There’s a reason He tells those who would follow after Him to count the cost. Because there is a cost. (If discipleship costs you nothing, you’re not doing it right). Recently, I’ve hit a wall. Between the church I pastor and the homeless shelter I manage, I have two 24/7 jobs. Somewhere in there my wife expects to have a husband that is more than a charred cinder. This isn’t the life Jesus has called me to, but it’s the season He has me going through. And I’m tired—wicked tired, as we say in New England.
Sometimes we have to be brought to the end of our ropes to realize our great need for God’s sustaining strength and grace. Every day as my feet hit the cool morning floor and my eyes crack open, the emptiness of my tank reminds me that I need Him desperately. There’s no other way to survive the day. And this is true even when the demands of life and ministry aren’t kicking me in the teeth.
On our last trip to Ireland, I picked up a tiny replica of a stone hut used by early monks. It sits at the base of my computer reminding me not to forget the monastic elements of my spiritual life in the busyness of the missional. For those of us that do, it can be really hard to just be. The inflow has to power the outflow. We have to be poured into in order to pour into the lives of others. As much as Jesus engaged the multitudes, He was also ducking the crowds to get a little one-on-one time with His heavenly Father. We need to stop feeling guilty about being still before God as if our personal spiritual health is a selfish endeavor. Without the be, there’s little quality do.
As you go about the business of Jesus’ mission, beware the wall. Don’t forget where your strength and stamina come from. Pray for a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit to empower you. Finally, take to heart this quote from Martin Luther: It is a good thing to let prayer be the first business in the morning and the last in the evening. Guard yourself against such false and deceitful thoughts that keep whispering, “Wait a while. In an hour or so I will pray. I must first finish this or that.” Thinking such thoughts we get away from prayer into other things that will hold us and involve us till the prayer of the day comes to naught.