Do less

Jesus gives away power

Lent 2023

Power is not ours to keep, nor ours to wield over people. As Christians, our job is to follow the example of Jesus Christ in not holding on to power but giving it away. On Fridays this Lent, I shall be looking at the example of Jesus both in the temptations he faced and in his empowering of his disciples.

Having looked at the temptations of Jesus and Jesus sending out his followers it is time to see how this is applicable to the 21st Century.

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10 The disciples returned. They told Jesus what they had done. Then he took them with him. They went off by themselves to a town called Bethsaida. 11 But the crowds learned about it and followed Jesus.

Churches can be run off their feet, the answer is to do less.

“Bewildered clergy are presented with endless programmes and resources to galvanise renewal. Exhausted congregations are not in the mood. There is much frustration with church leadership – if only they would speak more confidently and be more business-like, it is said, or if only the laity could be better trained, then it could all be turned around.” (From Grace and Truth blog 24 March 2023 by Jenny Sinclair).

I started this short series on Jesus giving away power in February at the beginning of Lent. In that first post, I mentioned the 12 disciples being sent out on a mission in pairs to preach and heal. Now I conclude with the disciples returning: The first thing Jesus did was to take them apart to rest.

Rest is important. If we don’t come apart and rest we just come apart. Rest is important and there is a problem in churches that people, lay volunteers as well as clergy, are not getting enough rest.

The need for rest is Biblical too. In the first chapter of Genesis, the man was made towards the evening of the 6th day, and given the task of filling the earth and bringing it under his control, ruling over the fish in the seas and the birds in the sky and ruling over every living creature that moves along the ground. You cam imagine the man’s enthusiasm for getting on with the tasks of controlling and ruling, but God said, “No, first you rest.”

Jesus said that man was not made for the Sabbath, the day of rest, the sabbath was made for man. The idea that we need rest because we are worn out after rest has it the wrong way around, we should be well rested in order to work. The Protestant work ethic is wrong. Rest in order to work is the important thing.

Churches, if you are doing too much, cut back. Find out what is important and do that well, cut back on the other stuff.
Christian, if you are doing too much, cut back. Find out what is important and do that well, cut back on the other stuff. Step back from voluntary jobs for a time if necessary. Refreshed people do better work.

We need to pray to the Holy Spirit to give us the discernment to see what is important. It is not just the physical, I am often too busy overthinking things, and I need to step back.

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