A very short book, this little gem from Pastor Kevin DeYoung out of East Lansing, MI is a great read. His writing style is wonderful. I’m sure I’m a bit biased since Kevin is about my age, but I get all of his analogies and cultural references so he’s very readable for me. DeYoung challenges the status quo and really takes us to task on our assumption that our lot in life is to be running from one thing to another with no buffer time or breathing room. This just isn’t the Biblical pattern of life and DeYoung lays out the Scripture’s teaching on work and rest and then offers several practical things to both think about and implement in our lives to help regain balance. The answer is neither to try to get everything done or to do nothing. The answer is not to frantically work ourselves into a tizzy or drop the whole enterprise of grueling labor altogether. The answer is to embrace the busy seasons of life but also proactively build in margin into our schedules. And wouldn’t you know, this is the exact pattern we see in the life of our Lord Jesus. He worked tirelessly. He was often tired, wanted a break and tried to leave, but then chose service to people over rest (Matt 6:31-34). But he also left the crowds when there was plenty of work left to do, plenty of folks that needed help and healing (Mark 1:35-38). Jesus worked harder than any of us. Jesus rested harder than any of us.
DeYoung brings it all down to Luke 10 and Mary and Martha. Martha wasn’t sinning necessarily. She was just distracted (v. 40) and not choosing the best thing at the moment. We can learn a lot from both of these ladies. Service is good. Anxious service is not. Hospitality is wonderful. Frantic, stressed out, irritable hospitality is no good. What we need is to spend some time with Jesus. Not so the food never gets cooked and the dishes pile up. So that we will cook the food and cleanup with the correct perspective and Christlike attitude. Some might say that the conclusion of this book is too simple, not profound enough. I would argue that usually the right thing is the most obvious (and hardest) thing that God has been saying all along –
“We have to believe that the most significant opportunity before us every day is the opportunity to sit at the feet of Jesus….I’m not telling you how much time to spend…A few unhurried minutes are better than a distracted hour, and a consistent habit is better than a sporadic burst of fits and starts….I can tell you that no single practice brings more peace and discipline to life than sitting at the feet of Jesus. Maybe devotion to Christ really is the one thing that is necessary.”