“Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
This has been a humbling year. I came back from the mission field. I stayed in the ICU. I cancelled our plans and cared for a sick baby. Slowly, I’m laying down my version of God’s calling on my life for His.
Cody has shifted into his role with grace and purpose. He’s meeting a clear need and they’re so thankful to have him. But my life is full of cycles. Unending dishes, diapers, bottles, interruptions, laundry, potty training, soothing fussy kids at night, grocery runs, sweaty walks, and going over letters and memory verses with a distracted pre-schooler who’d rather be playing in the mud. It’s not as easy for me to wade through the work and see what we’re accomplishing. I thought I’d be flying to the rescue and making an impact on the unreached peoples of the world. Those are good desires, but man, has it been brutal to lay them down and figure out who I am without them.
Pride says “Why would you bring us home? I’m more valuable than this! I have trained so long and so hard and I could be making a difference!”
Humility says, “Jesus is the one that makes the difference. He can position me wherever He likes and give me any job He wants.”
I’ll give you one guess which one my heart tends toward.
Humility doesn’t grasp for significance and recognition or strive to be important. But I do. Humility doesn’t try to impress other people. But I do. Humility knows that God’s calling is not just to the grand gestures, but to the every-day choice to die to self and love the people He’s put in front of you. But I don’t want to die to self in the ways I’m being asked to right now. I want to tackle big and important work, but Jesus was happy to let his big and important work be interrupted by little children.
I read a story by Paul David Tripp about his early days as a young pastor. He was over it. He had figured out a new plan for ministry and given his resignation. But an older man stayed after the service and challenged him: “We know you’re discouraged and we know you’re a bit immature, but we haven’t asked you to leave. Where is the church going to get mature pastors if the immature ones leave?”
We get mature pastors when immature ones stick with it. We get mature moms, mature missionaries, mature believers, when immature ones keep at it. So here I am. Recognizing, left and right, the indicators that my heart is proud and immature. But I hear my Savior saying “Let me teach you.”
Ephesians 4:1-2 says this:
“…Lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.”
I desperately want to live a life worthy of my calling. I just didn’t realize how often that means “Be patient with each other. Be humble and gentle,” that it’s a calling not just to do certain things, but be a certain type of person. Hard work matters. But it matters more that my work flows out of a heart that is patient with other people. Big sacrifices matter. But it matters more that I make the sacrifices because of how worthy Jesus is, not because I am trying to be worthy. It’s good to want to teach people about Jesus, but I cannot forget how badly I need to be taught by Him.
He was equal with God, but He didn’t cling to that. He was the most significant human being on the face of the Earth, but He didn’t flaunt it. How I need Him to teach me to be humble and gentle. How I need Him to teach me to value people so much that I do not turn away from the mundane, inconvenient, and tedious work of loving them and caring for them day in and day out.
Here’s the sweet spot. Pride is the source of so much wrestling and angst. But Jesus said, “Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
Not only is He ready to teach me, his teaching brings rest.
Are you frustrated with where He has you? Are you weary and discouraged and reaching for something different and more fulfilling? Do you feel like what you really have to offer has been passed over? Are you trucking through your work, but growing impatient with your people?
Me too. Let’s go to our teacher. Let’s run to our rest. He can teach us to be like Him. He can quiet our hearts. He can remind us that we are here on purpose, and that every second is worthwhile. He can change us so that what we do flows out of who we are in Him, and it is full of life and grace.
“Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.”