Saturday, December 20, 2014

Running on Empty

"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."

-- Matthew 11:28-30
We can learn a lot about ourselves by watching television. But not from the evening news, situation comedies or even historical documentaries. How about tuning in to Animal Planet?

Animal Planet's camera crews often find themselves in Africa filming lions and cheetahs stalking their next meal. And gazelles or some other cute animal are on the big cats' menu. Invariably, the gazelles gather by a muddy watering hole in search of refreshment as a hungry feline sneaks up from behind. But at the slightest rustle of Runnersgrass, the gazelles bound off to save themselves from certain death. It seems like they can never settle down and find peace.

Like the gazelles, we too can run into difficulty with finding places of refuge. And we also don't know who to trust. It's a jungle out there, with predators behind every tree and bush. Translated into the human experience, we all to some extent have trouble forming relationships with each other and with our Creator. The reason is one of the oldest in history. It's called sin.

If you go way back to Genesis--the first book of the Bible--God placed the first man and woman in a perfect, care-free existence called Eden. There were no job deadlines, traffic jams, illnesses or broken marriages. It was a place where God literally walked with His creation. But when the man and woman intentionally disobeyed God's instructions and sinned, things were never the same. Adam and Eve's eyes were opened and they realized the damage they had done. And then they literally hid from their Creator. Their sin had built a wall between them and God.

We're no different today. In addition to our own sins, we also evade relationships with others because of what they've done to us. We're determined to avoid being disappointed or hurt again. It's too easy to be let down, and it's even easier to run. However, the problem with this perspective is that God made us to be in relationship with Him and with others. So when we run, we shortchange our potential.

The Good News is that God has a two-fold solution to the problem. First, He re-established a relationship between Him and us through His Son, Jesus. As Christ-followers, we're literally God's sons and daughters--and with an incredible inheritance awaiting us. Second, there's the Church, which is the entire body of Believers from across the globe. It's a group of imperfect people just like you and me who are all looking for the same thing: a safe place to rest from the world, heal our spiritual wounds and catch our breath.

Are you tired of running? Then come on inside and accept Jesus' offer of rest for the weary. There's plenty of room here at the inn.  

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