Do you ever have those moments, weeks, months, eras in life where you can’t get the question out of your head: “What the heck am I doing in this world? What is the purpose of my life? Will I ever achieve that purpose before I die, and by the way, what is death going to be like?” These thoughts had been rolling around in my mind for the past few weeks while I tried to push them away…too busy to mess with it. Then this last Sunday at Ecclesia God brought one of those clarifying moments where you suddenly remember what you knew all along and overwhelming, supernatural peace reigns.
We were celebrating the last week of Advent, and Christmas has always been a season I didn’t particularly enjoy. Our family gatherings resembled a scratched up CD version of Rock n’ Roll Jingle Bells more than it did Silent Night, to say the least. When I would think of all the hectic moments that the Christmas season composed, my stomach would often ache. But this sermon was different, and I’m fairly sure it was one of those sermons that the pastor probably wasn’t even hinting at what I got out of the message, but God was speaking directly to me.
“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.” – Jesus, Matthew 11:28-30
I had always read that and pictured Jesus fluffing up a nice down pillow on top a Serta mattress with a sleeping eye mask and some warm herbal tea. This was my idea of the “rest for your souls” when we come to Him weary and burdened. But no, that’s not what He said. A yoke was made for oxen to work – and to work hard so that a fruitful harvest is produced. We were made to be oxen. You see, Jesus knows that when we are truly weary in our souls, it is often because we are not living out our calling and are miserable trying so hard on our own strength to just not get very far. When we do what we were made to do, which is to become the hands and feet of Christ, constantly working to bring His kingdom to earth, then our souls become truly rested.
I was made to bring clean physical water to the world and to teach the living water to those that do not have it. Anyone that knows me can cleary see that the gifts, talents, and experiences God has given me were all ingredients in this amazing recipe. Sure, it is not always the most comfortable thing to give up the luxuries of America and live in a third world country, or to donate your hard-earned paycheck to an organization God has placed on your heart, or to stop and have a non-judgmental and loving conversation with that homeless man on the corner, but when we finally do, we always experience true rest in our souls. When I get caught up in things and money and security I feel more anxious than when I am forced to live on faith. We all know this deep down, but the adversary is an excellent deceiver, so during this holiday season that is supposed to be filled with focus on Christ we often find ourselves comparing what is under our tree to that of our neighbor.
Brothers and sisters, we were made not to acquire money just for the sake of acquiring money, but we were made to DO something with that money. We were made for more than just sports or shopping or whatever it may be that has taken precedence in our lives. I know each of your callings is different, but for me, investing in clean water is investing in people’s bodies, in their TEMPLES, where God resides. Just like how baby Jesus resided in Mary and she was initially filled with doubt, we have God residing inside of us, and this beautiful power wasn’t meant to be contained just in your circle of family and friends. We were meant for so much more than marriage, a house, and children. All of those things are good and a blessing, but live the life you were called, even if it feels uncomfortable, because then you will find the ultimate peace imaginable!
What were you made for? Let’s take that purpose, and instead of answering with doubt and then stopping, let’s answer as Mary did when she said to the angel Gabrielle: “I am the Lord’s servant, may your word to me be fulfilled” – Luke 1:38.