In a series starting today, I’ll be exploring what it means to find Christ when you’re busy. I promise the posts will be short for busy readers. For those who are even more busy, I’ll put the Take Homes at the top of each post. 🙂 I’m indebted to this series by Marc Alan Schelske on spiritual growth while you’re busy for getting me thinking about this earlier this year.
Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. – Matthew 11:28 (ESV)
Take Home 1: See if you can be less busy, but recognize that God may be calling you to an intense season of life for the sake of His Kingdom.
Countless sermons and devotionals exhort us to pare away distraction and make more time for God. And they’re right to do so. If your career constantly seems to demand a life that has no time for God, for other church members, or for family, it may be time to rethink either your vocational choices or the way you’re approaching them. But sometimes God calls us to a moment or even a season of life in which time is severely limited. Sometimes God calls people in tough economic circumstances to work 60-80 hours a week to support a family. Sometimes He calls new parents to wake up several times a night and live with constant distraction to care for their children. Sometimes He calls crisis workers to put in long shifts clearing rubble and providing food and medical services in the wake of a natural disaster.
Maybe you’re on the job market, sending out 300 applications this year. Maybe you have massive graduate exams and are taking three courses to get through your program while you still have funding. Perhaps it’s the semester when you have to finish your first book and carry a 4 course teaching load. Maybe you’re balancing a demanding first year of tenure track as a single parent.
Maybe you really cannot make any more time in your life and get through your grad program, or maybe your tenure track job or multiple adjunct appointments demand more than you can imagine giving this semester. And yet you’re convinced for good reasons that God has called you here.
If that’s true, we can offer even our exhaustion to the one who says “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
Should we work to alleviate conditions that make it hard to spend time with God? Absolutely. But are there moments when He calls us to more than our resources can give? Yes. The God who called Israel into the desert and asked the disciples to feed the 5000 will sometimes ask us to give more than we feel we can to His Kingdom. And the God who gave manna in the wilderness and who fed 5000 people on five loaves and two fishes will also provide for us in ways that feel miraculous.
Next time: Small, practical steps you can take to invite God into your life even when you’re already beyond your work capacity.
How is God providing for you today? Even if you feel your resources are hopelessly slim, how can you see God caring for you? How is He offering you rest?
Lord, grant us rest today. Even if we are at our wit’s end, provide for us, and give us eyes to see that provision. Amen.
Hannah Eagleson is Interim Associate Director of InterVarsity’s Emerging Scholars Network (ESN). She launched and still edits ESN’s collaboratively written devotional for academics, Scholar’s Compass. Hannah also crafts other community-building events and materials for ESN. She holds a PhD in English literature from the University of Delaware, and an MA from St. John’s College in Annapolis, MD. she’s working on a novel about a dragon who gave up fending off knights to become a tea importer in eighteenth-century England.