I just sat down to do my Bible study that I haven't done in....well, let's just say a while. It's been a couple of weeks since I actually took the time to sit and pour myself into a study and God's Word. Today the topic was patience...how patience is necessary for a follower of Jesus to display. Being completely honest, I will tell you that the first page is blank in my book as it asked me for an example of when I have displayed patience to someone. How sad is this? I couldn't even think of one example to write down in my own study book! Sure, I can take the easy road and say that I display patience with Cole every day, but I have to display patience with him, otherwise I will go crazy! And I wouldn't be a loving parent if I didn't show patience to my 1 year-old. But am I a loving person? I like to think that I am....I do caring acts for people and try to keep others' best interests in the forefront of my mind. Then I read this...
"The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, "Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest."
So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place. But many who saw them leaving recognized them and ran on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. When Jesus landed and saw a huge crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things."
Maybe it's because we're in full-time ministry now that this verse has hit me so much, I'm not sure. But I felt like I could completely relate with how the disciples were feeling....exhausted! Exhausted from being pulled in all different directions and all they wanted was some rest. I have found myself getting that way quite often. Do you ever get tired of being pulled all around? Or at least that seems like what's happening! I get tired from the duties of being a stay-at-home mom where I don't get breaks from Cole. And then I have to fulfill my duties to the church and the unspoken expectations that lie there. And then there's our family back home who would love to see their grandson and want to know when we'll be heading to Michigan again. All of this amongst fund raisers for the summer trip, Wednesday night Bible studies, weekend activities, the teens' sports events that we try and make it to.....at the end of the day, it's a shock if we can "get away" in our living room by having one hour to sit and talk with each other about anything that doesn't have to do with any of the above mentioned topics!
But then Jesus landed. And He took compassion on these people who just wouldn't leave Him alone. He saw their need and knew it was bigger than His need for rest. Oh, to be like Jesus! It honestly boggles my mind that He would even want to take the time to teach the people. In my heart of hearts, I don't always want to take the time....in fact, looking over the last few years of my life, I've noticed a pattern....a quite disturbing one at that. It is: If you don't get it quickly enough, then I must not be the right person to help you. Go look for another who is willing to pour every ounce of herself into you because I'm exhausted....I just can't do it anymore.
Yikes! This is honestly my attitude....I take the "don't feed pearls to swine" line very literally. But what if God took that attitude with me? What if, during these two weeks of complacency and apathy, He decided that He was tired and exhausted with my "back-and-forthing" and said, "That's it! You're time's up, Megan!" Where would I be then?
There are so many relationships that I need to work very hard at to display patience and love. Actually, many of those relationships are in my own family. And many of those people in my family need to be encouraged in their faith in order to overcome obstacles they're facing. Paul talks about the importance of displaying patience so we can build others up in the faith. And this is my lesson, and my new goal.
I definitely think there is a point where we let others take advantage of us if we don't take any time for ourselves and for our own growth. But you see, I think the problem is that we draw the line too quickly for that to even be an issue. Most of us don't give patience a chance...at least, I don't. If I get annoyed, I walk away and think poorly about that person, rather than analyzing my own heart to see why little things that don't really matter annoy me. Does that make sense? I like how my Bible study author put it saying that patience is not a passive thing to do. It is active...we have to think about it in order to accomplish it.
So let's clothe ourselves in patience! Let's build one another up in the faith! And let's do so because God first showed patience to us, and He continues to do so every day of our lives.