I absolutely LOVE serving the Lord! It is not always easy and I’m never the most popular doing it. However, I consider it a huge privilege every time He appoints me for a job. I am finding that even though He uses me to share His message, it’s not because I’m a good teacher. It is usually because He wants to teach me an important lesson. Teachers often are the ones who learn the most when they teach!
This last month as I prepared for a retreat I spoke at yesterday and for the Bible study I taught after speaking, I struggled to get it done. It seemed that my schedule was so hectic that when it came time to study and plan, I was WORN out! As I worked on the final pieces Friday night, it dawned on me… “This lesson is for me!”
I have always been very timid about teaching the Bible as I feel very under-qualified to say the least. However, I agreed to teach a lesson on Elijah that showed how when he allowed his physical condition to deteriorate—not getting enough rest, not eating right, and over-exerting himself to the max physically, his outlook on life became very bleak. Although he had one of the most arduous ministries in one of Israel’s darkest times, he allowed himself to become so tired that he literally found himself under a tree, all alone, whining…woe is me! This was even after he had seen God do mighty things right in front of his eyes just a short time before that and knew better. He was actually at a point in his ministry he simply wanted to be done and die. He had lost sight of God and all of His power while he focused totally on himself, even to the point of believing he was the only believer left. His perspective was not reality but his physical condition made him feel that it was.
I woke up the morning of the retreat and did my devotion as I typically do while I drink my first cup of coffee. I was still feeling a little alone and concerned whether or not I was the right person to lead the Bible study. However, as I read, right there in front of me was the scripture from my lesson I was teaching in 1 Kings 19:12 that afternoon. It said, “After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.” I had been so busy lately that I was beginning to panic thinking God wasn’t going to be there for me when I taught the lesson even when I intellectually knew better. However, He was faithful, once again, to show up Saturday morning in His quiet and calm way as I read the Bible. This simple verse assured me instantly that He had it all under control. He was going to meet me there and His Holy Spirit would guide me that day. I was not alone! I never was! He was there all the time. I was just too busy and tired lately to remember it!
Another part of the study went on to add the verse in 1Peter 5:8—Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. It is easy to teach others about the need to surround themselves with other Christians who will speak truth into their lives when their perspective is skewed for some reason or another. However, I know that when I get tired, I’m the first to start pulling away from everyone in my world. Just as the lion uses the tactic of separating its prey from the rest of the group so it can attack; so he does the same to believers when they allow themselves to become isolated because of tiredness, hurt feelings, illness, or for whatever reason when they pull away from others who would typically encourage them.
So this week’s lesson I learned is:
- I need to take care of myself physically…nutrition, rest and even exercise. Ouch. Had to say that last word…sorry. If I don’t, I may find myself too distraught or unfocused to even know He is trying to get my attention.
- I need to have quiet times in my life so that when God whispers, I hear. If I wait for Him to shoot down a lighting strike or send a note on a string like Charlie the Tuna used to get…some of you young’ns won’t get that…go ask your mom…it will never come! If my life is too busy and noisy…I may never hear His voice. I might even think He has abandoned me!
- I need to allow other people into my life so that when I get down and discouraged, they can help me get my perspective back on the truth. If I isolate myself from others, my perspective might become something other than reality.
Thank you, Lord for your still small voice that speaks truth to me…even when I am supposed to be the teacher. Although this is another busy week, I am going to be doing some rearranging. I’m going to be saying “no” to some things while saying “yes” to some down time. I am also going to make an effort to go to our small group that starts back up this week even when I don’t feel the strength to go.
Who do you have in your life holding you accountable? Have you allowed yourself to be separated from the pack? Are you taking the time to take care of yourself physically? How about spiritually? I pray that this week we all take the time to listen for God’s quiet direction in our lives. Until next week…blessings!