May 5, 2009
by Charles R. Swindoll
"I like that, Dad." I remember those words. It's like they were said to me yesterday.
Actually, they take me all the way back to the late 1970s. In '71, Cynthia and I moved our family (four children, ages 1 through 10) from a sleepy, casual bedroom community outside Dallas, Texas, to rapidly growing Orange County in Southern California. Almost before we knew it, we had entered the fast-lane life of the West Coast, doing our best to keep up. As time passed, we found ourselves doing double-time driving freeways, leading an expanding church with a multi-person staff, hauling busy kids to and from school, mixed with holidays and birthday celebrations, sleepovers, and endless ball games. My publishing world had suddenly exploded, which resulted in too many trips around the country and not enough down time to rest my spirit and calm my nerves and be with those I loved the most.
Mother's Day was fast approaching, so my older son and I dropped into the local Hallmark store to find a nice card for Cynthia. As I thumbed through numerous Mother's Day cards, he wandered back to the section where the posters were displayed. Before long he asked me to join him. He was standing before a large poster portraying a serene scene. A well-worn fishing boat was out on a lake. It was early dawn, with the sun peeking over the horizon. Its warm rays reached across a deep blue-gray sky wrapped in lacy white clouds. Two thin lines were in the water---one hanging from a pole held by a father, sitting in the back by a little outboard motor, and the other held by his son, sitting at the other end. Their corks made gentle ripples on the water's glassy surface. You could feel the closeness. You could hear the easygoing conversation as father and son savored the morning together.
Two simple words appeared at the bottom of the poster. They stung as I read them:
"I like that, Dad," said Curt. I reached an arm around the broadening shoulders of my growing-up teenaged son, looked at him, and then looked again at the poster. "I do, too, son . . . I do, too." He didn't want to buy it. I realized he simply wanted me to see it. To think about it. I did. In fact, it was a needed wake-up call to this too-busy dad, whose son had hurriedly come into the store looking for something to buy for his mother, but who left slowly, far more concerned about his dad.
How easy it is for you and me to get caught up in a "hurry-worry sindrome," doing too much, driving too fast, eating too quickly, juggling too many things. It all seems ultra-important at the moment---but later we realize much was done at the expense of cultivating deeper and more meaningful relationships with those we love the most. Being held hostage by the tyranny of the urgent is not how we were meant to live.
Knowing how prone we are to this, Jesus offered a very sincere and gracious invitation. You may have read it before . . . but this time, linger over it. Turn the words over in your mind; let them seep in.
"Come to Me, all 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." (Matthew 11:28-30)
I suggest you accept Jesus's invitation---today. Come to Him. Tell Him how weary and over-burdened you are. Pull that heavy backpack loaded with all your stuff off your shoulders and drop it at His feet. Do it now. Then enter into His rest. Relax for a change---take an extra several minutes to enjoy His presence . . . embrace His peace. Before you turn in tonight, curl up alongside those who mean the most to you and tell them how much you love them, how valuable they are to you.
Reprinted by permission. Day by Day, Charles Swindoll, July 2005, Thomas Nelson, inc., Nashville, Tennessee. All rights reserved. Purchase "Day by Day" here.