A day late and a dollar short

Big thanks to Bryan Lewis for coming out of the gate strong on Friday. If you weren't there to hear it firsthand or you want to review, catch the podcast at https://www.convoynwa.org/audio/2018/1/6/learning-margin. When you get together with your foxhole, the assignment this week is to talk about what you heard in Bryan's story. It'll be interesting to compare notes on the various takeaways.

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”  (Matthew 11:28-30, MSG)

Maybe you noticed, as I did, how many times Bryan mentioned being impatient, irritated, and angry as he described a 24-hour slice of marginless life. Live freely? Live lightly? What's that supposed to mean? He was doing all the "right stuff", but the stuff had taken over to the point that he felt out of control. See, with no margin, everything has to flow smoothly. Everybody has to do what they're supposed to do when they're supposed to do it, and things have to start and end on time with no interruptions and no unplanned obstacles. Otherwise, you're playing catch-up the rest of the day. I don't know about you, but having a day where everything proceeded perfectly according to my priorities would be a rare and precious occurrence. No wonder Bryan was always aggravated!

Thank God he started to figure some things out. Time isn't infinite, at least not in this life. Every time I say "yes" to something, I'm saying "no" to something else. Having some brothers around to offer perspective, and finding that old journal from 2000 were eye-openers for Bryan. Walking through the Psalms looking for God's promises and drawing a tree for a Psalm 1 journal entry was a beautifully simple way to start the trip back home.

Just visualizing the mental image of a tree growing on a river bank slows my heart rate and makes me smile. And look at those promises in Psalm 1:3! The man who delights in the LORD is well-nourished and productive, he doesn't burn out, and he prospers. Now THAT is starting to sound more like "freely and lightly". Even so, resisting the urge to "do more" has been an ongoing battle in my life. How about you? Read that Matthew 11 verse again. It isn't that there's no yoke. But maybe, just maybe there's an easier yoke than the one I've been carrying.

Have a blessed week brothers. Take a breath and see what the Spirit wants to teach us about margin.

Scott Thompson