Tuesday, December 9, 2008

A Feast for the Soul

The last few weeks have been very busy. On one of my longer days in November I found myself driving to Panama City at about dawn to pray with one of our church members who was going under the knife that morning. I did some some sermon preparation for a while as I sat in the waiting room. Then I spent some time visiting with said patient's sister--it was a delightful visit. After a while, I was on the road back to Bristol (an hour's drive), after which I rested for about 15 minutes (I was actually wrestling with my kids on the floor), before heading to Tallahassee (another hour's drive) to visit another church member whose husband had just undergone major emergency surgery. On the way home I grabbed a bite to eat with my family. I got in around 10:30 p.m. This was one of three days on which I was still doing "church work" after 10:00 p.m. that week. On Tuesday and Friday night I took my family with me and they waited in the car while I made some rounds in the hospital. Afterward which we headed to Chic-Fil-A, whose soundproofed indoor playground with full length windows is a sanity saver.

Over these past few weeks I've often reminded myself of Jesus' words to his disciples in John 4, "'My food,' said Jesus, 'is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.'" I know that there is a sense in which the verse applies to Jesus alone; He alone finished God's redeeming work. There is also an extended sense in which we finish that work as we continue to redeem the world through the work we undertake in the name of Christ. But mostly I focused on the first part. Jesus isn't saying that he doesn't need to eat (evidenced by Matthew 4:11)--lucky for us gastronomes. He's telling his disciples that it is doing the will of our Heavenly Father that satisfies Him.

I can't really say that I was worn out that week, because I felt just fine; I probably got more sleep than I normally do. I felt bad that I didn't spend more time at home, or that our kids were sleeping in our minivan when they had to be up for school in the morning. But, quite honestly, I was satisfied, and I know that I would have been dissatisfied if I ignored the opportunity to serve others in the name of Christ.

If it weren't for my strong desire to pour my heart and soul into loving my wife and shaping the heart of our children, I could easily become a workaholic. Like most people, deep down, I have this need to be proud of what I do. When I fail to meet this need there is a nagging, gnawing feeling in the pit of my soul; its not a feeling of guilt, its more like the spiritual equivalent of hunger. Our animal cravings are real and obvious, it takes a little more sensitivity to notice a spiritual hunger. But when we dine on doing the will of our Maker--doing it and not just talking about it--we experience a filling as we pour ourselves out. These past few weeks have been a feast.


Dan White said...

The work has not slacked up. I'm feeling a little bloated.

Dan & Tammy said...

Me too! Can I purge or is spiritual bulimia bad?

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