Great to be here with you and it's a privilege to be able to fill in on the pulpit here at Faithful Word Baptist Church. Its' exciting to be able to preach.
I'm going to preach tonight on the subject of overload in the Christian life. This is something that we're all going to experience at some point in time, getting overloaded in serving God. The Christian life can be difficult. God asks us to do difficult things at times. You know what, there's a difference between, obviously, salvation, which is very easy, and being a disciple and serving God. This is something I wish would just be sounded across the land because so many churches have this wrong and there's so much false doctrine out there in the evangelical world about following Christ and discipleship and mixing that into salvation. Salvation happens at a point and time and being a disciple is something that happens on a daily basis, whether we're going to follow the Lord.
You don't need to turn there but Luke 9:23 says, "And he said to them all, 'If any man will come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.'" When we're following Christ, that's a daily thing. God calls us to do hard things at times. I'm preaching primarily to those that are actively involved in the battle tonight, those of you that you're here on a Sunday night, the night of the Super Bowl. You know what I mean? This is the faithful crowd. You know what. I'm preaching to those that are really trying to serve God and they're really doing the soul winning and going out there and being in church and reading your Bibles and memorizing and all those things, trying to lead a life that's pleasing to God and trying to follow God.
You know, it's often times when we begin trying to be a disciple, when we begin trying to serve God, maybe it's right after we got saved, that's the best way. Maybe we've been a Christian for a long time. We get to the point where we're really going to start serving God. It's easy at that time to kind of start overloading your life a little bit because you're going to be a little bit more busy than you were before. Modern life is already pretty busy. People already just fill up their schedule will all kinds of things. Once you start adding a lot of things to your schedule, that can contribute to kind of getting you to that point where you're just kind of filled up. Then what happens is sometimes just a small thing, or a big thing like a health issue or maybe you're having relationship problems or maybe you lose your job. Often times when we start serving God, things like that will happen. Maybe you're having stress at work or maybe just the job is taking up more time. These different things that kind of hit us and kind of blindside us sometimes.
It shouldn't come as a surprise to us that serving God's going to be hard. You don't need to turn there but 1 Peter 4:12, a familiar verse says, "Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you as though some strange thing happened unto you." God is warning us, "Hey, you know what. You're going to go through a fiery trial if you're going to serve God. You're going to go through difficulties." Often, we just kind of have this mindset that the Christian life is going to be easy. I mean, it's kind of counter intuitive but sometimes we think that, "If I can just get the sin out of my life, if I could just start serving God, if I could just get all my ducks in a row and I'm doing all these things, then God's just going to be pouring all this blessing on my life and it's going to be easy." Really, what the Christian life, there is a mixture of God is pouring out his blessing on you but you're still going to have to go through the trials, you're still going to have to go through the storms, you're still going to have that persecution and tribulation.
You should be there in Numbers chapter 11. We're going to start looking at the passage in verse 11. Numbers 11:11. I want to point out that even the greatest men in the Bible, men like Moses that we're reading about, they struggled with overload. Let's start reading in verse 11. It says, "And Moses said unto the Lord, Wherefore hast thou afflicted thy servant? And wherefore have I not found favor in thy sight, that thou layest the burden of all this people upon me? Have I conceived all this people? have I begotten them, that thou shouldest say unto me, 'Carry them in thy bosom, as a nursing father beareth the sucking child, unto the land which thou swarest unto their fathers?' Whence should I have flesh to give unto all this people? For they weep unto me, saying, 'Give us flesh, that we may eat.' I am not able to bear all this people alone, because it is too heavy for me. And if thou deal thus with me, kill me, I pray thee, out of hand, if I have found favor in thy sight; and let me not see my wretchedness."
How do we deal with overload in our lives? Point number one is determine that you will not quit. Determine that you will not quit. I want to point out that Moses, quitting wasn't an option for Moses. He never suggested, "Hey, maybe I'll go back to taking care of the sheep. Maybe I'll become a merchant. Maybe I'll do something else." He's dedicated that he's going to be serving God with his life. Do you see what I mean? The only option for him is death. He's bringing his problem to God and he's just saying, "I'm going to keep going, God," but at this point, he's getting a little bit depressed and down. He's just saying, "Why don't you just take me home?" He doesn't quit. He doesn't make quitting an option.
Some of the words that we see in the passage that shows that Moses is dealing with an overload is it says, "The burden of all this people," it says, "Bear all this people," "Too heavy for me." He's using all these terms to say he's burned down. It's not a physical burden. Moses isn't out there doing a bunch of work, lifting heavy things. It's just kind of the weight of the leadership. You know what I mean? Sometimes when you're leading a bunch of people and all of us lead in different areas of life and kind of having that mental burden, it can just kind of wear on us day in and day out. That's why we have to be careful as followers that we're not just wearing out our leaders with all our complaining.
Go ahead and turn to 1 Kings 19. Keep your place in Numbers 11 because we're going to be returning to that passage as our text tonight. Go ahead and turn to 1 Kings 19. We're going to look at a very parallel passage in the life of Elijah. Elijah is another great man of God. One of the greatest men in the Bible, but he also goes through something very similar to what Moses did. Where we pick up this story in 1 Kings 19, this is where Elijah has literally just had a mountaintop experience. He was up on Mount Carmel. You know the story. He called down fire from Heaven and the priest of Baal couldn't call down fire. They were proved to be the frauds that they were. Then, he had all the priests of Baal killed and King Ahab was there.
Elijah was probably thinking, "Things are going to turn around. We're going to get rid of the Baal worship out of the land. At least I'm probably not going to be a fugitive. Things are going to get a little easier for me." He's been in hiding for three years. What ends up happening is he gets a death warrant on his head again and he's back on the run and he gets physically tired and he's getting drained.
Let's look starting in verse 1 in 1 Kings 19. It says, "And Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and withal how he had slain all the prophets with the sword. Jezebel sent a messenger unto Elijah, saying, 'So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I make not thy life as the life of one of them by to morrow about this time.' And when he saw that, he arose, and went for his life, and came to Beersheba, which belongeth to Judah, and left his servant there. But he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree. He requested for himself that he might die." Does that sound familiar?
"And said, 'It is enough. Now, O Lord, take away my life for I am not better than my fathers.' And as he lay and slept under a juniper tree, behold, then an angel touched him, and said unto him, 'Arise and eat.' And he looked, and, behold, there was a cake baken on the coals, and a cruse of water at his head. And he did eat and drink, and laid him down again. And the angel of the Lord came again the second time, and touched him, and said, 'Arise and eat because the journey is too great for thee.' And he arose, and did eat and drink, and went in the strength of that meat forty days and forty nights unto Horeb the mount of God."
The same thing we see in this passage. Elijah is overloaded. He says, "It is enough." And the angel even says to him, "The journey is too great for thee." Just all the pressure of what he's been doing has just been weighing down on him. It's too much. He also requests that he would die in the same way that Moses did. Look back at verse 4. It says, "But he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness and came and sat down under a juniper tree and he requested for himself that he might die and said, 'It is enough, O Lord. Take away my life for I am not better than my fathers.'" I want to point out again, he didn't say, "Sorry, God. This is too much for me. I'm going to quit." He never said that. Quitting is never part of the option. The only thing is he just keeps on doing what God called him to do. The only option is for God to take him home. "I'd rather be in Heaven. Take me home." He's not going to quit.
What we learn here, it's okay to ask God for relief when we're overwhelmed. We should be going to God. It's not okay to quit. It's not okay to quit serving God. Point number two is take your problems to God because we see that that's what Moses and Elijah does. Our first response when we're overloaded is to take the problem to God. He's the source of help. He's the one that's going to help us.
One thing that Elijah and Moses did is they kind of focus a little too much on their own human weakness and their own kind of feeling of inadequacy. Elijah said, "It is enough now, O Lord, take away my life for I am not better than my fathers." He's like, "You know what. I'm just not really better than these other people that have gone before. What can I do?" He's not focusing on the Lord as his strength at that time. He's not really looking with an expectation that God's going to be bring the deliverance that God's going to bring.
Moses does the same thing. It says in the verse we read. I'll just quote it, "Kill me, I pray thee, out of hand, if I have found favor in thy sight and let me not see my wretchedness." See, he's focusing on his own wretchedness. That's good to some degree. We need to have a humble view of ourselves. We ought not just think, "I'm so great. I don't need anything." We can also go too far with that and kind of having a pity party. "I'm not better than my fathers. I'm wretched." That's not focusing on God's strength. We need to recognize our weakness but recognize that it's in our weakness that God is going to made strong and shown to be strong.
Go ahead and keep your finger there in 1 Kings or a bookmark or something. We are going to come back to that passage. You should have a bookmark in Numbers 11 and in 1 Kings 19. Go ahead and turn to Ezekiel chapter 4. Ezekiel chapter 4. Ezekiel's one of these guys in the Bible that God just asks him to do a lot of really hard things. When you're reading through the book, you're just thinking, "Good night. Look at all these things that God's asking him to do."
I just want to focus on one particular aspect of that or one thing that God's asking him to do in Ezekiel 4:9. It says, "Take thou also unto thee wheat, and barley, and beans, and lentils, and millet, and fitches, and put them in one vessel, and make thee bread thereof, according to the number of the days that thou shalt lie upon thy side, three hundred and ninety days shalt thou eat thereof. And thy meat which thou shalt eat shall be by weight, twenty shekels a day: from time to time shalt thou eat it. Thou shalt drink also water by measure, the sixth part of an hin: from time to time shalt thou drink."
Let's set aside for the a second that he's got to lay on his side for 390 days. That's kind of a hard thing to do in and of itself. I mean, if you've ever kind of pondered that passage. Here's the thing. He's asking him to make this multi-grain bread, this Ezekiel 4:9 bread. We've all seen that in the store. The Ezekiel 4:9 bread. They're basing it on this passage, they're loosely including the ingredients in that bread. He's saying, "Hey, drink some water with it." That's not so bad.
What happens is verse 12, then God asks him to do something hard. It says in verse 12, "And thou shalt eat it as barley cakes, and thou shalt bake it with dung that cometh out of man, in their sight. And the Lord said, 'Even thus shall the children of Israel eat their defiled bread among the Gentiles, whither I will drive them.'" Now God's asking him to do something pretty hard. I don't see the Ezekiel 4:12 bread at the store. It's not something that they're trying to sell.
I like what happens in verse 14 when Ezekiel goes to God. I like his response. It says, "Then said I, 'Ah Lord God! behold, my soul hath not been polluted. For from my youth up even till now have I not eaten of that which dieth of itself or is torn in pieces, neither came there abominable flesh into my mouth.' Then, he said unto me, 'Lo, I have given thee cow's dung for man's dung, and thou shalt prepare thy bread therewith.'" He goes to God. He's just like, "God, really? That's why you want me to do?" I want to point out again, he didn't just say, "Sorry, God. You asked me to do ... This is the final straw. I'm done serving you." He's going to serve God. It's okay for us to go to God and say, "God, what you're asking me to do is really hard." We come to him in a humble spirit just asking him to bring some relief into our lives. God does. I love that about this passage. God's merciful to him.
Here's the thing. God's still asking him to do something hard. I don't want to eat the Ezekiel 4:15 bread either. At times, some of us, we don't even want to eat the Ezekiel 4:9 bread. I recently took my kids to the store because we were out and about and I just grabbing a pack of salami and bread just to make some quick sandwiches for them while we were out. I got this bread and it said on it "smooth bread, smooth wheat." It had like multiple Os. They were like, "Man, this bread's so soft. We like this soft bread." It just made me think that's what we want in our Christian life. We just want the smooth bread. We want the soft bread. Sometimes even when we have to eat this hearty multi-grain bread with nuts in it and things like that, it's just a little too much for us.
Then, when God asks us to do something like this, something hard in our lives, then that's when there's the temptation to quit. I want you to see that Ezekiel was faithful and he kept doing the hard thing. God still asked him to do something hard. God is going to bring relief but he's not just going to stay, "Oh, I'm sorry. You're just going to not have to go through any suffering in the Christian life." You know what I mean? He's going to lighten our load. He's doing the work in our lives and he is bringing things into our lives.
Turn back to Ezekiel 2, just a couple chapters. We see that God had already warned Ezekiel about quitting. He already warned Ezekiel not to be rebellious against his command. Ezekiel 2:8 says, "But thou, son of man, hear what I say unto thee. Be not thou rebellious like that rebellious house. Open thy mouth and eat that I give thee." When he says, "Open thy mouth and eat that I give thee," he's not talking about the bread. He's talking about this roll that it's a book of words. It represents what God is calling him to do and what God's calling him to preach. The point being is God's saying, "Don't be rebellious. Do what I've asked you to do." That's what we see Ezekiel doing in his life. The key is that God is the source of our help. We need to turn to God when we're feeling overloaded. That should be our first response.
1 Thessalonians 5:24 says, "Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it." God's not going to ask us to do something too hard for us. God's going to be with us and he's going to do the heavy lifting but we have to turn to him as our source of strength.
Number one was we're going to determine that we do not quit. Number two, take your problems to God. Number three realize that you are not alone.
Go ahead and turn back to Numbers chapter 11. We see when God meets Moses' need in this passage that we read, he does it by involving more people. God isn't expecting us to do everything alone. Numbers 11 verse 14 says, "I am not able to bear all this people alone, because it is too heavy for me. And if thou deal thus with me, kill me, I pray thee, out of hand, if I have found favor in thy sight and let me not see my wretchedness. And the Lord said unto Moses, 'Gather unto me seventy men of the elders of Israel, whom thou knowest to be the elders of the people, and officers over them; and bring them unto the tabernacle of the congregation, that they may stand there with thee. And I will come down and talk with thee there: and I will take of the spirit which is upon thee, and will put it upon them and they shall bear the burden of the people with thee, that thou bear it not thyself alone.'"
The key word there is "alone". God didn't expect Moses to just be leading these thousands of people and just doing everything himself. God had given him these other men. He'd given them leaders. They were already leaders and they were there. Moses has really taken a little too much on himself. I almost feel like this is kind of symbolic what God's doing by saying, "You know what. I'm going to spread this spirit." He literally does spread the spirit across him. He's showing Moses, "You know what. You're kind of taking a little too much on yourself. You're bearing a lot of this burden yourself. There's really other people here that can help share that burden with you, that kind of mental burden of leadership." God puts people in our lives to help us with that burden of leadership. That's why often times it's our spouse, often times it's our family, our church family. That's why we ought to be in church. The reason why we're here, one of the main reasons is to be sharpened by each other and be encouraged by each other and to bear one another's burdens.
Galatians 6:2 says, "Bear ye one another's burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ." Moses didn't need to do this all alone. We don't need to live the Christian life all alone. God's giving us other people to be a help to us.
Go ahead and turn over to 1 Kings 19. You should have your place there, hopefully. 1 Kings 19. We see that the same thing with Elijah, this idea of him feeling like he's all alone in doing what he's doing. Just to kind of bring you up to speed on where we're at in the story, just remember as he was reaching that point where he was asking God to take his life and God sent the angel that brought him some food and water and he got some energy. He went out on the strength of that. He went to Mount Horeb. He's going there because he wants to hear from God. He wants to get some response from God. We see in verse 13, where we pick up that story, God is having this conversation with him.
1 Kings 19:13, "And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, 'What doest thou here, Elijah?' And he said, 'I have been very jealous for the Lord God of host because the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.' The Lord said unto him, 'Go, return on thy way to the wilderness of Damascus and when thou comest, anoint Hazael to be king over Syria and Jehu the son of Nimshi shalt thou anoint to be king over Israel and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abelmeholah shalt thou anoint to be prophet in thy room. And it shall come to pass, that him that escapeth the sword of Hazael shall Jehu slay and him that escapeth the sword of Jehu shall Elisha slay. Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him."
God's saying, "You know what. You're not alone in this." He mentions, "Hey, there's still seven thousand in Israel that haven't bowed the knee to Baal." He's saying, "You're not the only person that's left." More specifically, he mentioned these three men. Hazael that's going to be anointed king of Syria and Jehu, king over Israel, and Elisha, anointed as a prophet in his stead. What God's really doing is he's showing Elijah, he's saying, "You know what. I have a bigger plan, Elijah. It's involving multiple people." Sometimes we think we're the last man standing or we're doing this all alone. God's just giving him some perspective to say, "These things that you want to see happen, you want to see the Baal worship out of Israel, you want to see the house of Ahab dealt with." He's like, "You know what. I'm going to finish that work and I'm going to use you, but I'm also going to use these other three guys." The source of comfort for him and the source of answering the need of his heart was just that he felt overloaded and that it was all on his shoulders, was really God showing him it's not really all on your shoulders. I'm going to be using these other people. That's what addressed his need.
Go ahead and turn to 2 Corinthians 1. 2 Corinthians 1, we see an example with the apostle Paul where he was overloaded. 2 Corinthians chapter 1, we see in verse 8, it says, "For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life." It's the same thing there where Paul is saying, "We despaired of life."
You know, there are times in our Christian life where there's times where we might just think, "You know what. I'm just not enjoying life right now. I'd like to be home with the Lord. I'd like to be through with this life." Sometimes people go through that kind of feeling. It's a natural emotion because we see these great men of God have that feeling. It can become sinful when we dwell on that and we take our focus off of God. Obviously, there's a huge difference between someone pondering actually taking their own life and someone just saying, "God, I'd like for you to take me home to Heaven." No, obviously it would be a wicked sin for us to take our own life. You know what I mean? That's not something that God would be pleased with. Obviously you're not going to lose your salvation.
Men of God, they went through this type of feeling. It's a natural human emotion. You know, Job was basically just saying, "I wish I'd never been born." Obviously these men of God were going through stuff that we probably won't have to go through in our lives. We learn these principles because we do get overloaded. The stress that we feel and the overload we feel, it's real. We go through this type of thing.
It says here in verse 9 in 2 Corinthians, "But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead, who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver, in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us;" Here's the thing. Paul, he found his encouragement that he's trusting in the Lord. He's trusting in God's strength. He's not trusting in his own strength. He knows that God has delivered him in the past. He's delivered him from Hell. He's delivering him and he will deliver him in the future. That's where he gets his strength from. He also emphasizes that he's not alone. That's part of the solution for him.
Look at verse 11. He says, "Ye also helping together by prayer for us, that for the gift bestowed upon us by the means of many persons thanks may be given by many on our behalf." He's saying, "Hey, ye also helping together." He says it's by the means of many persons is basically how he's being comforted and how he's being blessed. The thing is if you read through the rest of 2 Corinthians, later when Titus brings good news about the believers in the Corinthian church, that's where God comforts him by the coming of Titus. God comforts him by the good news about the churches. If you read the Epistles of Paul, he's constantly talking about all the people that are co-laboring with him. He's constantly talking about all the people he's praying for. This guy had a great prayer life. He's constantly praying for all these people. He knew he had all these people that were with him and co-laboring with him. We want to understand that we're not all alone out there. We have other believers with us.
Number one, determine that you're not going to quit. Number two is take the problem to God. Number three was realize that you're not alone. God is not expecting us to carry the whole burden ourselves. He's given people into our lives. He's given people to help us with that. Number four is manage your workload. Manage your workload. This is an important one because sometimes we're struggling because God has asked us to do something that's really hard. Sometimes we're struggling because God has brought a lot of really difficult things in our lives. Sometimes we're just struggling because God has given us a reasonable load to carry, but we're not managing our life well because we got our time filled up with all this other stuff. Do you see what I mean? We're not managing all the different priorities in our lives.
Obviously, most people waste a lot of time. I work in an office and it's just constantly talking about, "Oh, did you watch such and such show? I'm watching this show and I'm watching that show." I'm just thinking like, "How do these people have time to watch all these shows?" Set aside the fact that it's just wickedness, all this stuff, the filth that's on TV. You want to keep that all out of your life. It's a time waster. In my house, we used to call it the time stealer. You sit down and time is gone. Those of us who don't watch TV and don't have TV in our house, you could do the same thing on social media. You could just waste time. Maybe it's not bad things, but you're watching all these YouTube videos and looking up every single conspiracy you've ever thought of and all this stuff. All of a sudden, your time's gone. You're on Facebook and all this stuff. It might be a good thing but you're using up your time.
Psalm 90 verse 12. This is something I wrote this year in the front of my day planner. "So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom." We need to use our time wisely. Even if we're not crunched on time right now, even if you got enough time to do all the things you want to do, you need to just kind of consider, "Am I wasting my time on a bunch of stuff that doesn't matter or am I doing what God has called me to do?"
There's an expression, "You work smarter, not harder." Sometimes we think, "If I'm just busy and I'm just doing and I'm just go, go, go, I'm doing everything I can," but that's not taking into account any kind of prioritization or management or anything like that. If you're going to try to do more, you got to put a little thought into it. You got to work smarter. The choice is not, "Do I continue with this unsustainable rate where I feel like if I keep doing everything that I'm doing, I'm going to burn out, or the only option is to quit," that's not the choice. The choice is we need to take a deep look at what we're doing, figure out what are the nonnegotiables, what are the things that have to get done, what are God's priorities, what's important, and figure that out. We got to just roll up our sleeves and do a little work to manage things.
Go ahead and turn to Luke chapter 10. Luke chapter 10 is the story of Mary and Martha. This really emphasizes the need to prioritize in our lives. Luke chapter 10 verse 38, it's kind of a unique little domestic situation type of a story that we can learn from in the Bible. Luke 10:38 says, "Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus' feet, and heard his word. But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, 'Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? Bid her therefore that she help me.' And Jesus answered and said unto her, 'Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things. But one thing is needful and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.'"
Martha's keeping busy with good things. She's in there working. She's in there serving in the kitchen. She's doing things that she ought to do. There's a problem because she's just feeling all overloaded. It says that she was "careful and troubled about many things, but one thing is needful and Mary hath chosen the good part." Even though Martha felt, "You know what. This working the kitchen just has to get done," it wasn't the thing she was supposed to be working on. She was doing the wrong thing.
Sometimes in our minds we think, "You know what. I got to do these certain things." Maybe that's not the priority at the moment. It says that "one thing is needful". Sometimes that's something that I just kind of meditated on when I feel like I've got all these conflicting priorities. I just think like, "t=There's one thing needful right now. What is it that God wants me to be doing?" That kind of helps you just kind of clarify and kind of cut through that.
One thing I see in the story, there's a need to balance ministry and spiritual things with the everyday responsibilities of our lives. We can't just say, "You know what. We don't have to do all those everyday responsibilities of our lives." God also calls us to do that. Men are called to work and provide for their family. We got to keep the family car going, keep the wheels on the bus. You know what I mean? We've got to do all the things that we've got to do in leading our home and guiding our family and all those things. The wife is so busy with all the things that she has to do and just kind of the mental burden of the groceries and the cooking and the homeschooling, if you're homeschooling kids, and all those different things. It can be a lot of just stuff that's kind of taking care of your family's needs, just taking care of all the day-to-day responsibilities of your life. If you're not careful, that will eat up all your time. You can easily just fill up all your time with those things and have nothing left over for ministry or nothing left over for God.
It's the same thing with I think of tithing as an example. What if you're going out, just spending all your money, and hoping that the leftover you're going to have something leftover. You could easily spend all the money that you got. You have to determine that you're going to tithe. Same thing. You determine that there's certain nonnegotiables. There's certain things that you got to do to be faithful and to be consistent in ministry.
Here's the thing, on the other hand, sometimes we can go a little bit too far in the other way. We could just say, "I'm only going to focus on ministry and all this stuff." You could neglect some of the responsibilities that God has for you. You might neglect your marriage. You might neglect your family. There have been preachers in time past that they were traveling around the country, preaching as a guest speaker all over the place, and they neglected their family. You know what I mean?
There's definitely a balance between taking on all these things and also you still got to take care of the daily serving, the daily stuff that's got to get done. There's phases in life, there's seasons in life where sometimes we got to cut back on some nonessentials. Maybe they're good things but we got to cut back on those a little bit. No only do we prioritize, we got to cut things. Something's not going to get done. If there's not enough time, if you're overloaded, something's going to not get done.
For example, maybe your kid, you want to have your kid learn martial arts and you want to have your kid learn music lessons and you want to have your kid be on a sports team and you want to have your kid be in every home school group that's out there and do all these different things. They might all be good things but you can't get them all in, right? You have to start making those tough choices. "That's a good thing, that's something that I could commit to, but it's just not going to fit into ... What are my goals?"
I had a friend at a church I used to go to and he was dealing with a young man in his life. I think it was his nephew. The nephew was living with him. The nephew, he said he had these goals that he wanted to accomplish for the summer and he was going to take these classes and do this stuff. Then, when he was there, he just was doing that had nothing to do with his goal. He's just like, "What does that have to do with your goal?" That's something that just kind of echos in my mind. When I'm thinking about adding different things to my life, I'm thinking like, "What does this have to do with the goals of my life? What does this have to do with what God calls me to do?" Maybe it's not something that's important.
You know, some of us are at busier stages in life. You know what I mean? Maybe you're at a stage in life where you're not really in a time crunch, but we're all going to face these types of overload situations. We see it in the lives of all these great men of God. You know what? The health problems are going to come, the storms of life are going to come, the issues are going to come. We have to be prepared. How do we deal with this kind of thing?
Another just kind of practical thing is just trying to reorganize a little bit. Something that we recently did in our house is just moving our soul winning time from Saturday to Sunday between the church services just because it freed up some time on Saturday just to relief Al, to get some other things that we've been deferring for a long time and we just kind of needed that balance. Other times, we might go out during the week. You know, maybe we'll switch it back to Saturday another time. Just kind of taking the time to reorganize and listen to the people that you're leading ... Is your wife getting burned out? Are you addressing the needs of your kids? Especially as the man, the head of the home, you've got to kind of be looking out for you don't want to burn people out and you don't want to make sure that the workload is unevenly distributed so that people are going to get frustrated and burnt out.
Sometimes we need to be a servant leader though and we need to serve the people that God has put into our lives. Sometimes the servant leadership can go a little bit too far. Jesus taught servant leadership. Go ahead and turn to John 13. The next thing we have to do is we have to delegate effectively. John 13 is the story when Jesus washed the disciples feet. He's teaching this idea of servant leadership. That's kind of a buzzword that we hear out there but it's definitely a Biblical concept that Jesus is teaching here in John chapter 13.
Verse 3 says, "Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God, and went to God, e riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself. After that he poureth water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded." Skip down to verse 12. "So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, 'Know ye what I have done to you? Ye call me Master and Lord and ye say well for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet, ye also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him. If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.'"
You know, God gives this very poignant example to the disciples here. You know, Jesus wasn't just like, "These disciples' feet are just so dirty. Who's going to wash their feet? I guess I'm going to have to do it." You know what I mean? That really wasn't what was going on in the story. He wanted to do something really dramatic. What's a poignant example I can give to get these people to realize? He kept talking to them about they want to be on his right hand and left hand. They want to be great and all this stuff. He's just like, "I'm going to show you how it's done." He humbles himself by washing their feet. Remember, Peter didn't want to get his feet washed because it was kind of shocking to the disciples. The reason he did that is he wanted to teach them about, "The greatest among you is going to be the servant."
Here's the thing. If you compare that with the situation with Mary and Martha, why didn't Jesus say, "Yeah, Mary. You should go in there because you need to be a servant leader and you need to serve and you need to go take care of the people's needs. Go help in the kitchen." Why didn't he just say, "You know what. You're right. I'm going in there. I'm going to go help." The answer for it is because something else was more needful. There's more of a priority. It's not that Jesus was like, "You know what. I can't go in there and help in the kitchen." He was willing to wash people's feet. I'd rather go help in the kitchen than wash somebody's feet. You know what I mean? The reason why he's doing that, there was something that was more needful in the one situation and there's going to be other situations in our lives where there isn't something. We don't have a competing priority. Maybe the priority is helping out those that are under our leadership or helping out those in our family. There's definitely a balance between being a servant and being an example of a servant to your family and not just being like consumed and taken away with all of that.
Here's the thing. When servant leadership goes too far, there's two negative things. It keeps you from doing the priorities that God has called you in your life. You're the only one doing anything around your house and you're just running yourself ragged serving everyone. You're not going to have the time to do the things that God has called you to do. It's not effective. The other thing though is your kids and the people in your life, they're not going to learn how to serve unless you involve them in serving. Jesus taught servant leadership, but he also delegated and got people involved in the work. If you just do everything for your kids and you just serve them hand and foot, you're just thinking, "You know what. When these kids grow up, they're just going to be these great servants. These people are just going to be helping people and all this stuff." That's not what's going to happen. They're going to grow up to be very selfish people thinking like, "Yeah. I'm meant to be served." If you show them, "I can set aside my priorities to help you. When needed, I can step in and I can be a servant," and you demonstrate that and you teach that while at the same time delegating and making them responsible for different things. Then they actually learn because they've had the opportunity to serve other people. Then, they're going to learn.
Turn to Matthew chapter 10. Matthew 10 is where Jesus delegates. During his ministry, he delegates to his disciples. Matthew 10 verse 1, it says, "And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease." Skip down to verse 5, "These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, 'Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not. But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as ye go, preach, saying, 'The kingdom of heaven is at hand.' Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils. Freely ye have received, freely give.'"
What's Jesus doing? He's saying, "I want you to go out and do all the things that I do. I want you to go and preach. I want you to go heal. I want you to cast out devils." He wanted them to do all the things that he was doing. If you look down at the next chapter, Matthew 11 verse 1, just a couple verses down, it says, "And it came to pass, when Jesus had made an end of commanding his twelve disciples, he departed thence to teach and to preach in their cities." He's like, "You know what. I'm going to send you out to teach and preach in these cities and I'm going to go teach and preach in some other cities and we're going to get a lot more done." You're going to get a lot more done when you delegate. Initially, there might some kind of startup costs of that. When you have to train people, it takes a little bit of extra time from you.
Go ahead and turn to Acts 6, another great story of delegation. When Jesus sent out these disciples to do this work, not only was he getting more accomplished, he was also developing them as future leaders. You see what I mean? If we just try to just, "I'm just going to be a servant and I'm just going to do everything and I don't delegate," you're not developing the people that you're leading. You know what I mean? You're not making disciples. You're not making people that will go out and be able to do great things themselves, whether it's your kids or people that you're disciplining or whatever it might be.
In Acts 6, we see this famous story of the apostles needing to delegate in the church in Jerusalem in the early days of the book of Acts. The church is growing by exponential size. There's a lot of work to be done and the disciples find themselves serving and waiting tables and taking care of the needs of the widows there, which was a good thing. By the way, they were willing to do that and they were doing that for a while, but they realized, "This is taking us away from the more important priority." It wasn't that they were just like, "We're too good for this. We're not going to do that." It was, "We've only got a limited amount of time. We need to be effective. We need more people helping out."
Look at Acts 6:1. It says, "And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration. Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, 'It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables. Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business. But we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word.'"
There was one thing that was more needful was that they needed to be giving themselves to the ministry of the word. They had a great work ahead of them and they had to do that. God, like with Moses, God had given them the resource of all these people. They needed to take the time, instead of just feeling like ... They could have said, "We're so overloaded. God, why did you give us so much work to do? We can't get it done." He's saying, "You got to reorganize. You got to come up with a plan. You got to come up with some structure. Get some other people involved. Delegate a little bit. Come up with priorities. Organize it." God's expecting us to do that type of thing in our lives. Manage your life. If your life's just all out of control, you got to ask yourself, "Is it because God's asking me to do too much or is it because I'm not really taking the time to organize it?"
Go ahead and turn to Exodus 18. We see another example of delegation with the life of Moses. This example isn't dealing much with Moses' mental burden of being the leader. It's dealing more with the actual day-to-day work that Moses was having to do as a judge. This was the story where Moses' father-in-law comes and he sees that Moses is just wearing himself out from morning until night, hearing every matter himself, doing everything himself without delegating it to anyone else to help him.
Exodus 18:13 says, "And it came to pass on the morrow, that Moses sat to judge the people and the people stood by Moses from the morning unto the evening. And when Moses' father-in-law saw all that he did to the people, he said, 'What is this thing that thou doest to the people? Why sittest thou thyself alone, and all the people stand by thee from morning unto even?' And Moses said unto his father in law, 'Because the people come unto me to inquire of God. When they have a matter, they come unto me and I judge between one and another, and I do make them know the statutes of God, and his laws.' And Moses' father-in-law said unto him, 'The thing that thou doest is not good. Thou wilt surely wear away, both thou, and this people that is with thee for this thing is too heavy for thee. Thou art not able to perform it thyself alone. Hearken now unto my voice, I will give thee counsel and God shall be with thee. Be thou for the people to God-ward, that thou mayest bring the causes unto God. And thou shalt teach them ordinances and laws, and shalt show them the way wherein they must walk, and the work that they must do.
Moreover thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness and place such over them, to be rulers of thousands, and rulers of hundreds, and rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens and let them judge the people at all seasons. And it shall be, that every great matter they shall bring unto thee, but every small matter they shall judge so shall it be easier for thyself, and they shall bear the burden with thee. If thou shalt do this thing, and God command thee so, then thou shalt be able to endure, and all this people shall also go to their place in peace.'" Then, verse 24, "So Moses hearkened to the voice of his father-in-law, and did all that he had said."
Here's the thing. Moses would have just wore himself away. He would have just wore out these people. He was doing something that was unsustainable. He needed to turn to delegation because otherwise, he's not developing any future leaders, he's burning himself out.
To recap, when we're dealing with overload in our life, first is determine that you will not quit. Point number two was take your problems to God. Number three, realize that you're not alone. Number four, manage your workload. Do all these prioritization, reorganizing, delegating. Number five is we need to focus on the glory ahead.
The thing is, whatever you're experiencing in your life, whatever hardship, whatever problem and this thing that's burdening your life and overloading you, this problem that's in your life, it's temporary. The thing is, life happens in seasons and most things that we encounter just in our human life are things that are transient, things that are going to be passing. Even if it isn't, even if you have maybe a lasting disability or lasting health problem, I'm not minimizing it at all the suffering that we go through. Here's the thing, it's going to end at the end of your life. It's all temporary. Everything in our life is temporary but we only have this one life to live for the Lord. Do you see what I mean? We need to have an eternal perspective that we're not just focusing on this just isn't working out for me. This isn't how I envisioned my life. You know what I mean? We begin to just focus on all the problems that we have now and the things of this world and we lose that eternal perspective.
I'll just read this verse. 2 Timothy 4:10 is where Paul tells, talking about Demas, he says, "For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica." With Demas, he's looking on the temporal. He's looking on the present world. He's focused on that. We need to have a long-term vision about the future. You know, the apostle Paul, he went through a lot of suffering, didn't he? Here's the thing. He knew how to be abased, but he also knew how to abound. There was probably some times when he got taken out to a nice dinner by the ruler of the synagogue or whatever or the people in the city or whatever. There's times in the Christian life where things are going pretty good and things are good and God is blessing us and God is pouring out his blessing throughout all the circumstances. There's times when it gets a little bit more difficult, but we need to be able to be content during those times where we're abased and those times when we abound.
Last passage that I want you to look at is 2 Peter chapter 1. This passage shows that we can become blind and not see afar off and not see that eternal perspective. 2 Peter chapter 1, starting in verse 5 says, "And besides this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue and to virtue knowledge and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience and to patience godliness and to godliness brotherly kindness and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins."
This person, he's forgetting that he was purged from his old sins. He's forgetting where he came from. He can't see afar off. He's forgetting where he's going. He's not focused on the glory ahead. He's not adding these things in his life, the fruit of the spirit, adding virtue and faith and all these things that come when we're serving God and we're reading the Bible and we're memorizing scripture and we're out doing God's work and we're out soul winning and we're in church. We're investing in ourselves and that's what's going to keep us from falling. It says in 2 Peter 1:10, "Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure. For if ye do these things, ye shall never fall." Here's a recipe for focusing on it. He's saying, "If you don't do these things, you're going be blind and you're not going to see afar off. You're going to lose that eternal perspective because there's glory ahead."
Romans chapter 8 verse 18 says, "For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us." There's not even a comparison between what is awaiting us and the suffering that we're going through now. Think about Elijah and Moses, these guys. These are the guys that when Jesus is on the mount of transfiguration, it's Elijah and Moses that are there and their glorified form. They're ministering to Christ and God's got plans for them. In the book of Revelation, the Bible points to them as being the two witnesses that are going to be performing miracles and doing God's will during the time when he's pouring out his wrath. Beyond that, God's got plans for these men. They only have this one life to live their mortal life. They had to get through the struggles that you and I struggle with. They finished their life in a great way that we would want to be like them. We would want to have a record like that. We got to focus on the eternity and the eternal perspective because we only have one life to live.
In conclusion, we need to determine that we're not going to quit. We're all going to get overloaded. We're all going to get discouraged at times. The first thing is don't let quitting come into your mind. I'm just going to quit serving God. It's too much. I just got to stop. No, we got to come to God in prayer. We got to give it over to God. Don't focus on your weakness, focus on his strength. Number three, realize that you're not alone. God puts people in our lives to bear the burden with us. God wants us to develop other people. We've got to use other people to help share the load. Then, manage your workload. Prioritize, delegate, reorganize. Take all the things that are on your plate and figure out what needs to get done. Lastly, focus on the glory ahead. Get an eternal perspective.
Let's go ahead and close with a word of prayer.
Dear Lord, I just thank you for this opportunity to preach this sermon, God. I just thank you for the truths in your word, Lord. I ask that you would just help us to be doers of the word, not hearers only, Lord, that we would just apply these truths, that we would be encouraged by them, that we just determine in our hearts that we're not going to quit and we're going to keep on serving you, Lord. We just ask these things in your name, amen.