by Pastor Tim Burt
Probably like you, I’d describe my life as fairly busy—even after retirement from pastoring for 35 years. We’ve simply moved over to doing missionary work and other volunteer ventures.
Being busy is no badge of honor. Being productive and efficient with your time is. And if in being productive, that includes being a blessing to others, then high-five! When my life feels busy day after day, my flesh seems to start screaming Leave me alone! I want to do nothing! The funny part is, it’s always seemed to periodically scream that. It does because my flesh would love to live the life of lazy!
Maybe you’re like me. My heart wants to be productive and do good things while my flesh would love to be more sedentary. When I was a younger man, even when those rare moments of free time came in my life, doing nothing was not an option. Renee could always use help with the kids. I wanted to play with them or take them on outings and adventures, or just to have fun! There was always a project to do or errand to get done. I was a long distance runner for 23 years and felt guilty when I didn’t get out for my two (plus) hour run. And then I loved to garden or golf if I could squeeze it in. I had two widows and a single mom as neighbors who often needed help. And my church was filled with people who wanted my attention and help 24/7. So who had time to be lazy? But boy did my flesh want to be! And I’ve noticed that over all the years, that’s never changed. There are times when I still think I can hear my flesh screaming, Will you leave me alone. I just want to do nothing!
The reason I don’t leave my flesh alone is because of something I heard within my heart one night as a young man. I sat down to watch television. Suddenly from within, this thought came, Do you just want to sit around all your life watching people on TV who do something with their life, or do you want to be someone who other people would want to watch and learn from and be blessed by? I turned off the TV and just sat there thinking about that. I knew it was the voice of God leading me. I knew I wanted to be someone who had an influence and became a blessing for others. I knew I wanted to be someone who contributed to making life better for others.
As I was thinking and praying about all of this, I had a flashback of my son Peter at 4 years old, saying to his 8-year-old bossy sister, You’re not the boss! My daughter often thought she was mom to her three little brothers and Peter would always respond, You’re not the boss. It made me laugh as I thought about it and I knew the Lord was telling me my flesh wasn’t the boss! I was! I was always going to have to be the boss over my own lazy flesh. If I was going to succeed, my lazy flesh could not dominate my thinking or efforts. The Lord was preparing me to accept opportunities that would demand commitment and great effort. I knew I would have to become faithful and diligent to those commitments that God led me to take on. I’d have to continuously receive and walk in God’s grace for strength, right motivation, and a good attitude—because if not, my flesh would scream for lazy time and put up a fight. God’s grace did prevail in my life but you would think after all these years, I would be past lazy flesh wanting its own way. It’s never happened.
Proverbs 18:9 (ESV) says, “Whoever is slack in his work is a brother to him who destroys.” This verse exploded in me. I had never thought of lazy as being a destroyer! Proverbs 13:4 (ESV) says, “The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied.” I believe we all want success and blessing but God teaches us that it comes through diligence and hard work and His grace (His divine help)—not through just dreaming and hoping alone.
All this has helped me grow and walk out my life—pushing myself to do what is profitable for myself, my family, and for the blessing of others. Renee has been the same as she pushes just as hard!
Today I am looking in the mirror and reminding my flesh who’s the boss. It’s my spirit-man taught and led by God’s word and His precious Holy Spirit. There is too much need and hurt in the world to be lazy. Our families and the world around us need God’s love and touch. Lazy cancels that from happening. Being the boss over lazy flesh through God’s grace, gives opportunity for God to have His way in me.
Today I will think upon those powerful and motivating words of God spoken through the Apostle Paul:
1 Corinthians 9:24-27 “…Run in such a way as to get life’s prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.”
In His love,
Pastor Tim Burt
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