I had more work to do than time to complete it: ministry events to prepare for, people calling me for therapy or spiritual mentoring, letters and articles to write. My time alone would slip away fast and then I’d be with my family again.
But I had set aside this day for Sabbath rest with Jesus. What would I choose? Sabbath or work? What would you choose?
Thank God, I resisted the temptation to skip my Sabbath and do my work. The Spirit of Christ drew me to hike with him through the hills to the ocean. Twelve miles I hiked with Jesus. Six hours I meditated on Scripture and prayed. Then I journaled and prayed some more.
What did I accomplish in six hours? None of the projects that were pressuring me. Just a prayer: “In Christ be easy… Don’t hurry.”
That’s it? Six words? That’s it.
Six words that distill Jesus’ unhurried lifestyle and invitation for us (my favorite passage in the whole Bible): “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest… For my yoke is easy…” (Matthew 11:28-30).
Small Beginnings, Strong Foundations
Later I recalled the word of the Lord: “Do not despise these small beginnings.” I went to the source and read from the prophet Zechariah.
Zerubbabel and the Jews with him were discouraged. They had worked hard to re-build the temple but were opposed by enemies. Seven years later all they had to show for it was the foundation. People were complaining: “You’ll never get it done! You don’t work fast enough. You’re not strong enough to do it.”
But then the Lord spoke up: “It is not by force nor by strength, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies… Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin” (Zechariah 4:6, 10, NLT).
The Lord spoke to my heart: That’s what you’re doing on your Sabbath days Bill—you’re building a foundation for my temple. You body is a home for my Spirit. You’re making more space in your soul for me to live in you and through you.
Sure enough, as is typical of my Sabbath days, there was a lot of foundation work going on in my soul: I enjoyed the beauty of nature, told the Lord I loved him (many times and in many ways), prayed over personal struggles and ministry opportunities, received insights from God about a number of things, interceded for people the Lord brought to mind, and, most of all, for six hours I prayed, “In Christ be easy… Don’t hurry.”
Beyond Six Hours
For six hours I didn’t hurry. For six hours I found my identity in Christ alone—not what I could accomplish and not what people think about me—just being with Jesus and enjoying him.
A small beginning. Yes. Hard to measure what was accomplished. Yes. Just a prayer and a stronger foundation in Christ. Yes!
“In Christ be easy… Don’t hurry.” For six hours of soul training.
“In Christ be easy… Don’t hurry.” As I go back to the work God has given me to do.
“In Christ be easy… Don’t hurry.” As I love my wife and children and whoever else is in my circle.
“In Christ be easy… Don’t hurry.” For me it’s the most important thing of all.
“In Christ be easy… Don’t hurry” is inspired by Matthew 11:28-30. “You Can Live in Jesus’ Easy Yoke” is my book that will help you to live unhurried in God’s peace, overcoming anxiety.