I find it incredibly encouraging to remember that even Jesus had to regularly find ways to sustain his ministry. The gospels make it really clear that he certainly didn’t constantly give out, but rather lived in a rhythm of receiving and releasing. In fact if you have time why not grab a notebook right now and see if you can jot down the ways in which you remember Jesus receiving support, sustenance or encouragement from God or others? I’ve got a list of at least 12 ways in which he was sustained (I cheated, it’s in a book) – see how many you can find. I’d love to see what you come up with!
Life as God’s representative can be draining! The very act of maintaining hope in the midst of some of the difficulties and challenges we see in our lives and the world around us can be hard enough. We’ve talked in the past about people who go from be to do, not do to be. That means we live out of our identity as God’s beloved children. We look for ways to receive his love, presence and affirmation, and we then naturally release that to others. We allow God to bless us, and we pass blessing on to others. We seek places where we can meet God, and we lead others to join in.
The places where you can be free to receive from God and the people who encourage you to grow are incredibly important. They are what gives you the sustenance to live as his follower. Have you still got that notebook? Good – write some of the times and places where you meet God – on your own, with others. Do you have regular patterns that help you draw near? What is working well for you and what could do with a bit of change?
Jesus says: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Next week I’ll share some thoughts about specific practices that might help with this, so if you have something that you know works for you let me know – perhaps it will be an encouragement to others!