DayBreaks for 2/22/16: Either Way You’re Out
Galen is traveling. Today’s message is from the DayBreaks archive, 2006:
I’ve spoken before about my maternal grandfather. Even though for nearly all his life he was an Iowa farmer, he saw so much change during his lifetime! He was born in the 1800’s and lived for 102 years. Consider all the change he saw in that time: cars, jets, nuclear power, two world wars (plus other wars), tractors, insect-resistant plants and seeds, space travel, moon landings…you get the idea. It’s hard for me to realize that he undoubtedly saw and knew some people who fought in the Civil War.
One day when I was just a young pup, I was helping him and one of his friends on the farm “put up hay.” It was a hot, humid Iowa summer day, and I remember that we were sitting in the shade of a tree as we waited for the next load of hay to come in from the field, pulled by a tractor on a large hay wagon. As we sat there, we talked about many things. I asked him about some of the changes he’d seen in his life. He wasn’t a very talkative man, but I’ll never forget something that he said to me. As he talked about his life and the fact that he was still working hard (he lived alone and worked on the farm until he was 95 years old!), he told me “I’d rather wear out than rust out.”
That impressed me. I made it my own mantra, at least at times. It sounded good. Who wants to rust out – to be cast aside as useless? When we think about our deaths, my guess is that we picture ourselves going out in a blaze of glory – doing something we love or something worthwhile. None of us want to go out sitting alone in a chair – solitary figures passing into the shadows.
But now, I’m not so sure. The great plague of our day is busyness – we have far too much that we try to do. And we seek “balance” in our lives. The problem, you see, with my grandfather’s advice, was that regardless of whether you wear out or rust out – you’re still out, and it doesn’t really matter how you got there. We need to have ordered hearts – ready to do His bidding – but not hearts that are overwhelmed with busyness. Too much to do can lead to ulcers and breakdowns. To little leads to despair and emptiness.
Are you looking for balance in your life? Don’t. Look to have a heart ordered after God. Read the descriptions about the apostle Paul and his sufferings (2 Cor. 11:23-29) and ask yourself if you think Paul’s goal in life was to find a happy balance, or to pursue Christlikeness and His kingdom with every ounce of energy he had. For you, what is it that you want on your tombstone: “He was the most balanced person I ever knew”? That’s not what I want.
God wants more from us than burnout or rusting out. He has a great purpose for each and every one of us. Are you up for it?
2 Corinthians 11:23-29 – Are they servants of Christ? (I am out of my mind to talk like this.) I am more. I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked . Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches. Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn?
TODAY’S PRAYER: God, we long to find meaning and purpose for our lives. We are tired of busyness that doesn’t really count for anything. We have bought into so many stories about what would make us happy and fulfilled. And we have been very much deceived. Help us to order our hearts and turn our ears to hear and do Your bidding. Help us be all that You long to make us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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