Matthew 14:22–23 – Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone.
THEME OF THE DAY. HOW NOT TO UNRAVEL AT THE SEAMS OF YOUR LIFE. You will encounter a lot of pressure today in various forms. Two of them will be demands other people place upon you for your service and personal responsibilities/roles you have to fulfill in life. And these are near constants. Granted we encounter times and periods when life isn’t going at breakneck speed, but those are few and far between. For the most part, we experience tremendous pressures in our lives challenging us physically, emotionally, and spiritually as we scurry around completing tasks, fulfilling responsibilities, running errands, doing our jobs, raising our families, and serving in our churches. This is life under the sun, but if we don’t heed the example of Jesus and take consistent time to say, “No” and come away for extended times of spiritual refreshment alone with Him, we are going to eventually come apart. Ignore seasons of coming away from the demands upon us for physical, emotional, and spiritual renewal and the consequences will be severe. We will unravel at the seams of our lives, emotionally, physically, and spiritually rendering us useless to those who rely and count upon us in life. Yes, we must heed the example of our Lord and from today’s scripture. He provides two things to ensure we don’t unravel at the seams of our lives.
First, there is a time to say “no” to demands of people upon us. The Scripture reads twice, “He dismissed the crowds.” Do you think there were hurting people still wanting to be around Jesus? What about the curious seeking individual saying, “Master, just one more question?” And the disciples? They were in the school of discipleship from the Lord, but class was over for the day. Jesus dismissed the crowds essentially saying, “Enough for today. I desire and need time alone.” I confess I struggle, and maybe you do also, to say “no” when people need help, want our time, and desire our presence. However, learning to say “no” is a must if we are going to maintain a vibrant life physically, spiritually, and emotionally able to help the hurting. We cannot serve people and our families the living water of Christ from a dry well. But there is a catch here. Saying “no” is not the common answer. Don’t be so wrapped up in a world focused on “me, my, mine” that we rarely say “yes” to minister to others. That is simply disobedience to all the “one another” passages in the Word of God. Jesus models for us the principle of saying “no” to demands upon us to ensure we “recharge our batteries” so we may effectively meet the demands of those we are privileged to serve.
Another thing we see in Jesus that will ensure we don’t come apart at the seams of our lives is the uncompromising commitment to prayer. The Word reads, “And after he had dismissed the crowds, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray.” Jesus constantly pulled away from the demands of life upon Him to pray. Yes, the Son of God, the Godman, consistently and without compromise did not let life steal away times of solitary prayer. And He did so to enjoy fellowship with His Father and to be renewed by the Spirit of God. Remember He was both God and man. His humanity knew fatigue and He also knew the joy of the Lord was His strength. Friends, do we see prayer more than just getting things from God? Is prayer something we know and practice as a means of refreshment and renewal? We will know if we understand this aspect of prayer by what we do when the pressures of life are strangling us. Do we resort to prayer or imply by our lack of prayer, “I don’t have time for prayer”? Prayer is a means to know God AND be refreshed by God. It is the chief way to prevent unraveling at the seams of life.
So, let us look unto Jesus, not only as the Author and Finisher of our faith, (Hebrews 12:1-3), but also our model to help us handle all the pressures and demands upon us. If we do, we will not unravel at the seams of our lives.
PRAYER: “Father, help me not to neglect seeking You when life’s demands tell me “You don’t have time.”
QUOTE: “To not drown in the sea of a demanding life, learn to come apart and be refreshed by the Author of Life”