I don’t know about you, but I’m tired. Not so much physically tired, although that happens sometimes with two young daughters who don’t always sleep through the night, but just tired of the things happening around us in our world today.
I’m tired of the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact that it has had on our community and on the world. I’m tired of not being able to worship together with a sanctuary full of my brothers and sisters in Christ due to our social distancing precautions. I’m tired of not being able to host our regular activities due to concerns about people’s wellbeing and the size of groups. I’m tired of not being able to gather with groups and not traveling like we used to. I suppose I could summarize it by just saying that I’m tired of the way that our lives have been disrupted.
I’m also tired of the political drama that seems to encompass more and more of our attention and our conversations while being less and less positive or helpful. I’m tired of lies. I’m tired of anger. I’m tired of the constant power grabs. I’m tired of the selfishness and self-centeredness. I’ll be honest with you, I care very little about politics or political parties, but I am pretty concerned about the way that politicians have been turned into idols and political parties into religions.
I’m also tired of the way that Christians have gotten sucked into all of this nonsense and pulled away from God’s Word and His Promises. I’m tired of the selfishness and self-centeredness that has developed in response to the pandemic. I’m tired of the anger that consumes so many related to politics. I’m tired of the “I know best, and you’re an idiot if you disagree” attitude that seems to drive our response to so many things.
I’m just tired. How about you? Are you tired too? I bet you are. I know some of you are based on the conversations that we’ve had over the last months.
Now fortunately for me and for you, I’m not just some opinion columnist for the local newspaper. I’m not here to complain and bemoan all that is wrong with the world. All of these things that I’ve described can be chalked up to the sin that has infected our whole world – you could almost say that sin was the first pandemic – everyone has been infected and no one gets out alive.
But fortunately in the pandemic of sin, we have a fool proof solution with 100% effectiveness. In Matthew 11, Jesus says, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
In John 16, Jesus also says, I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
These are awesome words of comfort spoken by the King of the Universe, Jesus himself. When we are tired, we can turn to Jesus and he gives us rest. He takes all of our burdens, all of our stressors, all of our shame, all of our sin, all of our pain, all of our suffering and in exchange gives us hope, peace, comfort, forgiveness, and life that never ends. What great comfort it is to have this assurance.
When we receive these gifts from Jesus it sets us free to share them with others. We’re no longer bound to ourselves, but we are turned loose on the world to make sure that others receive these great gifts too.
Jesus summarizes all of what God expects of his people in two sentences. “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind.” And the second one is like it, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself”.
These two simple sentences should guide the way that all Christians live. We should not be selfish or self-centered. We should not constantly be asserting “my way is right and you’re an idiot if you disagree”. Instead we are called to love others and be the light in a dark world.
Paul gives encouragement in Romans 12 that is worth us all reading over and over again. He writes, “Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Jesus loves you, how can you love others this week too?
My name is Tom. I'm fascinated by the ways that people, ideas, current events and theology interact with each other.