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The Forty: Day Four

Devotional 4: Leave Me Alone

Scripture Reading: Luke 5:12-26

 

Karoshi. In Japanese, it literally translates to “overwork death.”

 

It is sudden mortality, usually a heart attack or stroke, resulting from stress or starvation due to extensive overwork, and it is a big problem in many parts of Asia right now. A quick search on Google shows story after story of people working as many as 159 hours a week, regularly.

 

We might not have that here in America, but the underlying issue still remains. Sit down for coffee with a friend and the first comment out of anyone’s mouth will most likely be about how packed our schedules are. We wear our busyness like a badge of honor, thinking we can somehow prove ourselves by how much we have going on.

 

But as a child of God, our value and worth are not, and cannot, be found in our own performance, condition, or ability. Christ died and rose again so that we could enter into His rest now, not later.

 

In Luke 15:12-26, Jesus performs two healing miracles. First, a man with leprosy, and later, a paralyzed man. They are undoubtedly amazing miracles, revelations of God’s healing power and transformative love. But wedged in between them – in the middle– are nine very important words: “But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed” (v. 16).

 

Just for a moment, imagine what Jesus could have done in that time: the people He could have healed, the teachings He could have done, and the lives He could have changed. Or, in our language: the tasks He could have checked off His to-do list. To us, this time of rest might almost seem like a waste.

 

But Jesus teaches us an important lesson here, and it is not that our busy schedules or what we commit our time to is inherently bad. Rather, Jesus models what it looks like to cultivate rhythms of sustainability and rest in our lives, even in the middle of the busyness. Even when found between the awe and wonder of two divine and fulfilling opportunities.

 

No matter how many things we might be able to check off our to-do list, it is – at the very least – not worth working ourselves to death. At the most, Jesus shows us that it is definitely not worth risking missing out on a lifetime of moments with our Father in Heaven.

 

In Matthew 11:28, Jesus gives us both an invitation and a promise. First, the invitation: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened.” Then, the promise, that when we do come to Him, that He will give us rest.

 

God’s invitation of rest is for us now, for when we are “in the middle.” It says that Jesus withdrew to “lonely places” to pray, but we know that He was not lonely there, but perfectly at home in the love of the Father.

 

*Devotional contributed by Joseph Tolonen

 


 

Application Questions:

 

  1.    Are you setting aside intentional time to get to know God better each day, even in the middle of the busyness?
  2.    What priority does rest take in your life? Is it at the top of your list, or something you only do “when you have time”?
  3.    What is your relationship with your daily tasks and work? Do you use them because you believe you have to prove something to God, others, and yourself? Or, do you live resting in the finished work of the cross?