A few Sundays ago I preached about Joshua and Moses and Aaron and Hur and the battle against the Amalekites. Joshua had to fight the battle. Moses stood on the hilltop with hands lifted as Joshua’s army fought on. When Moses grew tired from the burden of the battle, his hands fell to his sides and Joshua would start to lose ground. With the help of Aaron and Hur, Moses was able to keep his hands lifted and the battle was won.
As with many, many people I know, this has been a very difficult year. The battles for some of us have been fierce and some have grown weary. There are many of us also who have been carrying burdens that we shouldn’t be carrying alone. We have been trying to push boulders up hills, backs pressed to it, foreheads pressed to it, pushing with all our might, and the scenery never changes. Many have grown weary and almost hopeless, some even losing their passion and focus. Guilty. This week I became physically sick due to exhaustion and months of mental stress. I, like many other missionaries, tend to take too much of the burden of my calling onto myself. I want so much for the children and when things don’t go the way I work so hard to get them to go, well, after a time the load becomes too heavy to push. I have been feeling like I have been pushing a boulder up a hill and getting nowhere. It is a common malady, both among missionaries and ordinary folk even in the west because of the present situation with the economy.
In the life of Moses, his father in law, Jethro, told Moses that he didn’t have to make every decision and do everything for all people. Me, I tend to want everything fixed and organized and I want to see results, good results for my labor. We all do or else why do we do a thing? I also tend to carry too much on my shoulders and when the load becomes heavy, still I trudge on quietly. I hold a lot of stuff inside. God has always been big on the “two or more” concept and even though we all agree, alas, we are not very good at doing. Many times that second person has to be the Lord.
So, the next weekend I made myself rest. I am no good to others if I am not good to myself. I want this to encourage you, especially during this busy season, to take time for yourself and to rest a bit. I also want to encourage you to let Jesus take some of that burden and lighten your load. I literally pictured myself stepping away from that boulder and walking up that hill without it. Our desire is to go higher. If we are pushing boulders we obstruct the view ahead and lose our focus. Lighten the load and enjoy the view ahead. And most important, let your friends help you. Aaron and Hur were so needed. Moses and Joshua could never have won that battle without them. I pray that each one of you has an Aaron and Hur to stand beside you to lift your arms.
I am always aware of all the tiny footprints in the dirt here in South Sudan. Most children run around barefooted and even I do this on occasion. Many of the liitle prints here are from tiny toddlers, little toes dotting the sand. I am ever aware that whatever the size of the boulder that I am currently pushing, there is always a little pebble that could easily get stepped on or buried if I become consumed with that big rock. I love stopping for the pebbles. It is where you find the pebbles that the river flows smoothly and peacefully. These tiny feet prints remind me of why I do what I do. Love. Simply to love. There is no greater calling and we are all called to this.
This week, stop for the pebbles and leave those rocks behind.