Possums, hawks and owls are after my hens, coyotes are terrorizing my newborn calves, my barn construction is dragging out longer than I ever expected, and my “things to do list” is so long I cannot keep all the pages together. How in the world can I ever expect to get a good night’s sleep with all this going on? That is a question that I have been asking myself a lot lately—most often when I awake between 2:00 and 4:00 a.m. because all these things are on my mind and keeping me from going back to sleep.
Perhaps if I go ahead and get up now during the wee hours of the morning and drive across the road where the new calves are I can catch the coyotes in the spotlight and get a shot off before they kill another calf. Or, if I get up and walk out to the chicken yard right now I might catch that possum or ‘tag’ that owl that is killing my hens at night. Did the plumber working on the barn put that pipe in the right place so that it will be in wall? I had better go ahead and get up, get dressed, grab my measuring tape and a flashlight and go check for myself just to make sure so that I can clear my mind and possibly go back to sleep before I have to get up at daylight. I am tired, I need the sleep, but these things are so important to me that they are keeping me awake at night!
My brother Steve and I were discussing these things this week when we acknowledged that the things we most often lose sleep over are actually not very important when we put them in proper perspective. On the flip side, the things that are so important that they should be keeping us awake at night are far from our minds. How quickly and easily our perspectives and priorities can get out of order!
I have a dear friend that has been given the news that he has at most only a few months to live. I have another dear friend who is on life support after an automobile accident that killed his friend riding with him. I have a sister that is facing major surgery in just a few days. I visited my mother who is in the nursing home Sunday morning and met a lady who had Alzheimer’s and wanted me to push her wheelchair down to the next hallway so that she could go see her daughter who lives just up the road on the next corner. I have a lot of friends that have recently lost someone that they love more than life itself. So many people that I know are lost spiritually and on their way to an eternity in hell if they do not repent and turn to faith in Jesus. Billions more that I do not know are in the same boat. There are so many abused, impoverished and oppressed children that are hurting and have no hope for a better life—I have seen them and I can still see many of their faces in my mind. I have missionary friends and indigenous Christians in other countries that are imprisoned for their faith or are facing other forms of severe persecution and suffering because of their relentless faith as they serve our Savior in places where Christianity is unlawful—but is also the only hope for the people they are trying to minister to.
Yes indeed, there are so many things that are so critically important and that have such great eternal significance and consequences that if anything should keep me awake at night, it should be those things. However, I find myself having been so consumed by the ‘small’ and ‘insignificant’ worries of life that I have temporarily lost sight of the people and the issues that are most important.
I am a fulltime minister and missionary! How could this have happened, especially to someone in my capacity? The truth is, it happens to everyone and it is something that we always have to guard against. Life has issues, we have responsibilities and there are always things that we either want to do or that we have to do to be responsible people, but that can also cause us to get our priorities out of order.
I realize that from time to time, my relationship with the One who is most important and who puts everything else in proper perspective is not what it needs to be. I am reminded that I need to be more intentionally intimate with the One who died for me, who has given me eternal life, and with whom I must maintain a relationship that is more intimate and personal than any other if I am to have peace and avoid wasting my life.
Jesus Christ is the Good News that you, I, and others so desperately need and are longing for—even though we may not even know it. He is the One who has saved my soul and whom I have the privilege, opportunity and responsibility to share with others. The One to whom I and everyone else must one day give an account to for all He has entrusted unto us (time, energy, resources, talents, opportunities, education, knowledge, relationships, etc.). No matter what else we accomplish or obtain in life, if we miss Jesus, if we miss the opportunity to live out His will for our lives—everything else will be in vain!
“Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of the eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires will pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.” (1Jn2:15-17).
So, what’s keeping you up at night? Jesus came to give us peace. When we find ourselves outside His peace, we need to confess our sin to Him, accept His forgiveness, do what we have to do to stay “Fresh in Jesus”, and go back to sleep!