ODJ: Limits

August 14, 2016 

READ: Mark 6:30-31 

Then Jesus said, “Let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile” (v.31).

My wife and I used to live in a small flat on the sixth floor of a block of flats. We loved its balcony views and simplicity. And there was no garden work to do! But our little home had its problems, one in particular—a limited power supply.

The trouble came when running two power-hungry appliances at once. Put the oven on along with the dishwasher and within minutes the fuse would trip and we’d find ourselves in the dark.

On one occasion I realised that appliances weren’t the only thing struggling for energy in our home. I was too. In addition to a full-time job, I was preaching, leading small groups and running training courses in our church—while contributing to other ministries. I was taking on a quantity of service beyond my ability and my circuits were overloaded.

It’s easy for committed Christians to misread a verse like, “I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13). Paul was talking about adapting to whatever resources he had (see vv.12,14), not expecting God to have him work beyond his physical capacities. It’s important to recognise our energy limits and to steward them well.

God has written an energy-renewal day into every week (Genesis 2:2-3). Jesus made time to recharge (Luke 5:15-16) and He confronted Martha about being too focused on work (10:38-42). When His disciples needed a break, Jesus took them to “a quiet place” (Mark 6:31). Christian service can require sacrifice, but we’re not called to workaholism.

To keep things humming, my wife and I had to reduce how many appliances we ran. To live well, I had to reduce my ministry commitments. In Jesus, we find both the example and provision to live within healthy limits.

—Sheridan Voysey

365-day plan: Luke 15:1-10

Read Matthew 11:29-30 and think about what it means to rest in Jesus. 
How often are you weary or stressed from church work? What leads you to take on more than you should? How can you better define healthy limits?