Rest for the Weary
"Fatigue makes cowards of us all." That famous quote has been attributed to a number of sources including General George Patton and the legendary football coach Vince Lombardi. Regardless of who first said it, the phrase is often repeated. Likely it is repeated because it is true. Tiredness makes a difference; we are not the same people when we are tired. Years ago when our three boys were little, they would occasionally misbehave. I would often console my wife with, "They are not bad kids; they are just tired." I knew as well that I was not my best self as a parent when I was tired. It is likely that the entire book of Hebrews in the New Testament was addressed to a group of people thinking of leaving the church. And their likely reason for leaving? According to scholar Fred Craddock they were tired- tired of waiting for Jesus to return, tired of unmet expectations and perceived unfulfilled promises, and tired of harassment from non-Christians.
It is not just that first century church who was tired. Today tiredness seems to be the common, if not universal, experience of churches and pastors during this pandemic. We are tired of conflict, tired of masks, tired of not having things the way they used to be, tired of Zoom, and tired of the many other inconveniences brought on by the pandemic. We are tired. And it stands to reason that we, like the soldiers under Patton, the players under Lombardi, and the children under the McNitzky roof, are not our best selves at the moment.
Fortunately the Bible has a lot to say about weariness and rest. Over the next five weeks we will explore the topic more deeply in our new series, "Rest for the Weary." Each week we will also offer a practice for you to try to help you find what Jesus promised - "rest for your souls (Matthew 11:29)."