A Methodist Way of Life - Commitment 4: We will care for ourselves and those around us
by Rev Jacky Quarmby 27 May 2022
In our reading, Elijah has just defeated the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel and he is exhausted. “I have had enough, Lord,” he says. Then angels appear bringing food and water and attending to Elijah’s physical needs. God does not demand more from Elijah but allows him to rest from ‘doing’ and just ‘be’. There are times in all of our lives when we say, “I have had enough, Lord.” When this happens, it is important that we step back, make time to listen to God’s voice and remind ourselves that in God’s eyes we are enough just as we are, we don’t have to prove that we are worthy of his love.
If we are to care for others, we first need to care for ourselves, which means taking time for rest and for those things that energise us. When we start feeling that everything is a chore, then it is a sure sign that our lives are out of balance and we need to spend a little more time caring for ourselves and a little less time rushing about. One of my favourite verses from Scripture is Matthew 11:28-30 when Jesus says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
God is not a hard taskmaster. God knows our limitations and will never ask more of us then we are capable of. So it is important to begin each day by asking God, “What are the tasks that you have for me today.” We can’t solve all the world’s problems, but we can aim to live each day, so that in some way the world is better for us having been in it. I want to finish with a lovely poem called “Slow me Down Lord” that was written by Wilfred Peterson.
Slow me down, Lord!
Ease the pounding of my heart
By the quieting of my mind.
Steady my harried pace
With a vision of the eternal reach of time.
Amidst the confusions of my day,
The calmness of the everlasting hills.
Break the tensions of my nerves
With the soothing music of the singing streams
That live in my memory.
Help me to know
The magical power of sleep,
Teach me the art
Of taking minute vacations Of slowing down
To look at a flower;
To chat with an old friend Or make a new one;
To pat a stray dog;
To watch a spider build a web;
To smile at a child;
Or to read a few lines from a good book.
Remind me each day
Of the hare and the tortoise
That I may know that the race is not always to the swift;
That there is more to life Than increasing its speed.
Let me look upward
Into the branches of the towering oak
And know that it grew great and strong
Because it grew slowly and well.
Slow me down, Lord,
And inspire me to send my roots deep
Into the soil of life's enduring values
That I may grow toward the stars
Of my enduring destiny.
Song: Be still and know that I am God
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Help us to live this day … quietly, easily
To lean upon your great strength … trustfully, restfully
To wait for the unfolding of your will … patiently, serenely
To meet others … peacefully, joyously
To face tomorrow … confidently, courageously.