Is Fatigue Next to Godliness?
by Charles R. Swindoll
Now here's a rhyme I'll never understand:
Pussy-cat, pussy-cat, where have you been?
I've been to London to look at the queen.
Pussy-cat, pussy-cat, what did you there?
I frightened a little mouse under the chair.
That little pussy-cat had the chance of her lifetime. All of London stretched out before her. Dozens of famous, time-worn scenes to drink in. Westminster Abbey. Trafalgar Square. The unsurpassable British Museum. She could have scurried up an old lamppost and watched the changing of the guards. Or slipped in the side entrance and enjoyed an evening with the London Philharmonic.
Not this cat! She was such a mouseaholic that she couldn't break with the monotonous routine even when she was on vacation.
That mouseaholic has a lot to say to all workaholics . . . and churchaholics, for that matter. Overcommitted, pushed, in a hurry, grim-faced, and determined, we plow through our responsibilities like a freight train under a full head of steam. What we lack in enthusiasm, we make up for in diligence.
We've been programmed to think that fatigue is next to godliness. That the more exhausted we are (and look!), the more spiritual we are and the more we earn God's smile of approval. We bury all thoughts of enjoying life . . . for we all know that committed, truly committed, Christians are those who work, work, work. Preferably, with great intensity. As a result, we have become a generation of people who worship our work, who work at our play, and who play at our worship.
Hold it! Who wrote that rule? Why have we bought that philosophy? What gave someone the right to declare such a statement?
I challenge you to support it from the Scriptures. Or to go back into the life (andlifestyle) of Jesus Christ and find a trace of corroborating evidence that He embraced such a theory. Some will be surprised to learn there is not one reference in the New Testament saying (or even implying) that Jesus intensely worked and labored in an occupation to the point of emotional exhaustion. No, but there are several times when we are told He deliberately took a break. He got away from the demands of the public and enjoyed periods of relaxation with His disciples. I'm not saying He rambled through His ministry in an aimless, halfhearted fashion. Not at all! But neither did He come anywhere near an ulcer. Never once do we find Him in a frenzy.
His was a life of beautiful balance. He accomplished everything the Father sent Him to do. Everything. And He did it without ignoring those essential times of leisure. If that is the way He lived, then it makes good sense for you and me to live that way, too.
Excerpted from Stress Fractures, copyright © 1990 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide.