Health and Healing. Day six...
As an exercise in maintaining balance, I always put on my socks by standing on one leg at a time. I just figure that what I do every day I can keep doing every day.
I remember one incident in a shoe store when this practice freaked out a young salesman. As I tried on a pair of shoes by standing on one leg at a time, he circled around me with his arms spread—as if I was going to come crashing down at any moment.
Balance is so very important to living an abundant life—but so difficult to achieve.
I've been a business man for just about my entire life. So I've had my share of all‐nighters, and eighty‐hour weeks. And the last thing ambitious people think about is balance.
I was listening to a program recently about some of the more well‐known men and women throughout history whom God used in a mighty way. The narrator brought up a commonly asked question about those who died prematurely: “How could a person, who had been used by God in so many miraculous ways, die so young?” The narrator's response (my paraphrase): “They took good care of their spiritual lives, but they didn't take good care of their physical lives.”
Just because God is using you to save the world doesn't mean that you can neglect your health without experiencing the consequences. Life is a package deal. Spirit, soul, and body—life is a package deal. God has called us to live our lives in balance.
The way we balance our time affects our health.
Since no amount of wealth can buy a day longer than twenty‐four hours, since no amount of power can seize a day longer than twenty‐four hours, doesn't it make sense to sleep less in order to accomplish more?
- Physicist and mathematician Sir Isaac Newton supposedly slept for only two hours per night, working the rest of the time. He died at the age of eighty‐four in 1727.
- Inventor Thomas Edison supposedly slept only three to four hours per night and regarded sleep as “a heritage from our cave days.” He died at the age of eighty‐four in 1931.
- Inventor, engineer, and physicist Nicola Tesla claimed he slept only two hours per night. He died at the age of eighty‐six in 1943.
Considering the accomplishments of these men, it would certainly seem to make sense to sleep less in order to accomplish more. And the fact that they died at an old age also seems to refute the notion that we need seven to eight hours of sleep per night to function properly.
For people who follow their own agendas (and that includes many, if not most, Christians) then it does make sense to pursue those agendas for as many hours a day as is possible. Those who are extremely passionate about what they do will just instinctively work as much as is possible and sleep as little as is possible.
This, of course, is all just human reasoning. But it's what we do when we don't know anything better.
I worked long hours following my own agenda before I became a Christian, and I worked long hours following my own agenda after I became a Christian. It just made sense.
A few years ago I sensed that God had different plans for my life than I had.
What to do? It just made sense for me to do what I'd always done—work long hours. But this time I would work long hours for God—following His agenda instead of mine.
- Doesn't it make sense, if you're doing good work serving on one committee in your church, that serving on more committees would be better?
- Doesn't it make sense, if you're doing good work serving at the food pantry two days a week, that volunteering on more days would be better?
- Doesn't it make sense, if you're doing good work by visiting one nursing home a week, that visiting more nursing homes would be better?
- Doesn't it make sense, if you're doing good work by teaching at six meetings a year, that teaching at more meetings would be better?
- Doesn't it make sense, if you're doing good work by praying for twenty people each morning, that praying for more people would be better?
We could go on and on and on. Can you see how this kind of work ethic coupled with the high demands of some types of ministry could kill people prematurely?
But this kind of work ethic does not exist in the kingdom of God.
So then, there is still awaiting a full and complete Sabbath‐rest reserved for the [true] people of God; For he who has once entered [God's] rest also has ceased from [the weariness and pain] of human labors, just as God rested from those labors peculiarly His own. Let us therefore be zealous and exert ourselves and strive diligently to enter that rest [of God, to know and experience it for ourselves], that no one may fall or perish by the same kind of unbelief and disobedience [into which those in the wilderness fell]. (Hebrews 4:9–11 AMP Bible)
The “rest” in this passage does not occur only after we die and go to be with the Lord in Heaven. It can (and should) begin this very moment, and it will continue for eternity in Heaven.
But if you are used to working your own agenda, as most of us are, then ceasing from your own labors and entering into God's rest will be one of the most difficult challenges you've ever faced.
It's a challenge well worth facing.
Have a good day,