Don’t read this the wrong way because I’m not complaining. I love my family, my home, my friends, my work, and my church. But I’m tired. Maybe you are tired too.
I’m tired of waiting. Tired of talking. Tired of making plans. Tired of lack of progress. Tired of bringing people up to speed. Tired of going through the motions. Tired of the results becoming more elusive. Tired of the news. Tired of the pain I see in the world. Tired of the same old grumbling. Tired of disappointment. Tired of breakthroughs going unnoticed. Tired of little things festering. Tired of losing confidence. Tired of being told ‘no.’
I’m tired of things I don’t even know about. And yet they are exhausting.
Do you feel like this? Are you tired too?
Do you feel like the next big push, the next great feat, and/or the next important milestone – is there within reach but you are just too lethargic to reach it?
Sometimes I feel like this more than anything else. I don’t know why I’m tired. But I am. I see a lot of other people who are tired. You are probably tired too.
This fatigue is not about churchy things. Nor is it simply about our changing culture, or spent politics that don’t ever seem to go anywhere. It is about how stuck we feel in a world that would like to keep us stuck.
There is a weariness present that pervades it all, underneath, subtle, and cunning. Drawing us deeper into disillusionment, apathy and withdrawal.
We want to do something, call ourselves out of the funk that keeps everyone else under a dark cloud, and work towards change.
Maybe I’m just hungry: But not “bored hungry” (that is, eating without anything better to do). It is a deep hunger that cannot be easily satisfied. Maybe I’m thirsty too.
I’m hungry, but not for food (anyone can tell I could stand to lose a few pounds). I’m talking about different kind of hunger: a hunger to matter; a hunger to matter more.
Participation in the ELCA Malaria Campaign this last month has been wonderful. It is a project in which we could all get involved. Last week I had the confirmation class help me hang the paper mosquitoes. They did it joyfully. We talked about it afterwards. Hanging those images and discussing why we did it got them even more excited about the project.
I asked them, “What should we do next?” One of them faithfully responded, “I don’t know, send in the money?” Right!
It’s good to have something to do. We look at the world and it seems there’s too much to do. It feels like we make little difference. We have a hunger to make a difference. Not to stroke our own egos and feel important – but to matter through our efforts.
Bigger isn’t necessarily better. More sometimes is just more. Sometimes snacking is just snacking. But I think we have a hunger that for good reason is not easily filled. To sit idle isn’t going to solve any of the challenges we face. If we close the door and hide our problems will not go away. Maybe it’s good to be hungry. Maybe it’s God pushing us not to be so complacent. It makes me feel tired and hungry.
Are you tired and hungry too?
Jesus says “Come to me you were weary and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).
He also says, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry,and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty” (John 6:35 ).
Maybe that’s why we’re tired and hungry all the time. We try to live on our own. We try to feed ourselves. We attempt to save the world on our own – even when we do it together. The results are often resentment, fatigue, and fear rather than the transformation we seek to provide. Can there be any hope?
Or to put it a different way – we often believe that Jesus has given us the keys to the kingdom to run the church so long as we lock the doors when we go home. We forget that Christ remains on the throne – renewing and freeing us to be his church as the Spirit calls, gathers, equips and sends us into the world; keeping us in faith as we go.*
We are not meant to save the world in the name of Jesus. Or to try to do it by our own understanding or strength.* We are called to join Jesus – who does.
Notice the distinction?
In the first case we are on our own to make something of ourselves and get to work. In the second case Christ is at work: renewing, restoring, redeeming, and he invites feeble people like us to help!
So be bold and courageous…(Joshua 1:9) But understand it is not all up to you.
You who are tired and hungry: come to the banquet of the Lord. Feast on his mercy and grace and find solace and comfort in a weary world.
So that you can stretch, yawn, rub your belly with satisfaction…but then get back to work. 🙂
At that time Jesus said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, 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.” (Matthew 11:25-30)
* I paraphrased Martin Luther’s explanation of the 3rd Article of the Apostles Creed:
“I believe that by my own understanding or strength I cannot believe in Jesus Christ my Lord or come to him, but the Holy Spirit has called me through the Gospel, enlightened me with his gifts, made me holy and kept me in the true faith, just as he calls, gathers, enlightens, makes holy the whole Christian church on earth and keeps it with Jesus Christ in the one, true, common faith.” (Martin Luther, “Small Catechism,  “Evangelical Lutheran Worship. Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress, 2006, pg. 1162.)