We’ve all seen the ‘Energizer Bunny’. His life is a tale of frenetic activity that lasts and lasts, until suddenly it doesn’t last. Too many of us are like that! We live in ways which cannot sustain spiritual life. Our answer is; to take some time, to make a retreat, to read a book, to attend a conference, to take a sabbatical and the list like the bunny goes on and on. We feel the need to recharge. I am coming to believe that, though all these things are good and right in their proper place, recharging is not the best answer to spiritual exhaustion.
Several years ago I developed an award “Saint John Idle”. I took a handful of these awards with me to King’s Square in downtown Saint John. I looked for people sunning themselves on park benches and presented their award. The award was in recognition of their awareness that something was wrong with our society and their lives and the need to ‘recharge’. The award went on to commend a relationship with God as the thing their hearts were really seeking. I got into a number of conversations through during these Award Presentations.
Linda and I were reading a devotion this morning that referred to living life ‘on batteries’. A battery even the great Energizer runs down. It loses its charge! All around we see evidence that this is so in our lives and culture. The devotional writer suggests that ‘storing up’ spiritual energy will ultimately leave us depleted and in need of yet another recharge. We become as addicted to our particular ‘fix’ as any of our street users. The author proposes another way. He suggests that continuous current is the answer to depletion. This seems to be God’s prescription as well. Jesus invites us to abide in him as opposed to visiting and revisiting him.
As my friend (at least on Facebook) Reggie McNeal says “Don’t hear what I’m not saying.” I am keenly aware that we need recreation. We need Sabbath. We need to recharge! I am also aware that these cannot be the main means of my spiritual sustenance. In fact my need of them is a sign of my brokenness and sin. I need these recreations because I abide imperfectly!
I have friends in our Street Hope Community that certainly live on batteries. They come to our Study and Prayer time for a charge to get them through the day. If I am away for a few days often people have relapses or slips. Their batteries wear down. My task is to encourage them away from a sole reliance on battery power, though I definitely hope they get a charge from our fellowship, I want to point them toward the continuous contact with the Power for Living. I want them to abide, to stay plugged into Jesus, who promises never to leave or forsake.
Many of us are returning to our ‘work a day’ after a summer of recharging. No matter how good our batteries we will fail if we have not learned the practical lesson of simply abiding.
Does this make sense to you all?