Have you ever found yourself wondering if all that you are doing is accomplishing anything and if it is worth the effort? I know I have found myself in that state of mind on more than one occasion. In retrospect, I know that this usually happened when I was extremely busy and found myself on my third page of a “to do” list.
Fatigue sets in and I become overwhelmed and cynical about life in general and ministry specifically. When I get to this condition, I begin to think that others have it much better than I do. In fact, if I am not careful, I can find myself thinking life just isn’t fair. I am convinced that the enemy loves to see Christians overworked and fatigued. He knows when this happens we can easily feel like simply giving up and going with the flow of the culture.
The Psalmist, Asaph, found himself in this exact situation when he penned the 73rd Psalm. He was at a point in ministry where he:
- came very close to giving up (verse 2)
- actually envied wicked people (verses 3-12)
- began to pity himself for trying to live a righteous life (verses 13-14)
- came close to teaching the next generation that living for God wasn’t worth it (verse 15)
- couldn’t even think about this because of the pain he was experiencing (verse 16)
You might be thinking to yourself, I know just how Asaph felt. In fact I am right there right now. It seems like those who do as they please are prospering to the point that they almost brag about being above the law. All we have to do is look at what is going on with politicians in our country right now to see this apparant double standard.
Asaph’s problem was the same problem that plagues me whenever I find myself nearing exhaustion. Asaph had stopped having a grateful heart. Instead of being thankful for everything that God had done in and through his life, he became critical and cynical. All I can say is — been there, done that, and have the t-shirt!
But Asaph’s envious, unthankful attitude was just a symptom of the real problem he was facing. It was the root of the problem that was bringing him so much pain as it is with us when find ourselves in this same condition. Asaph had become so busy in his ministry that he was not faithful in spending time with the Lord. This is why Satan wants to keep us running through life at a frenetic pace so we don’t have time to be still and be with the Lord.
When Asaph recognized what the root of the problem was, he came to his senses and came into the sanctuary of the Lord (verse 17). Everything changed when he put the brakes on and entered a time of quietness before God. When we realize that it is time to stop, pull off to the side and be with God by being in the Word and prayer, we gain a proper perspective about everything — just like what happened with Asaph.
When Asaph spent time with God, he:
- began to know afresh the power and glory of God
- realized that worldly prosperity is but for a fleeting moment and destruction was the final destination for the wicked
- recognized that God’s wisdom and strength was more precious than silver or gold
What was the result in Asaph’s life when he took time to be with the Lord? He once again went from being cynical to being thankful. When this takes place in our lives, God moves in and blesses us in unbelievable ways.
All across the USA Christians will be observing the Thanksgiving holiday this week. The question is will this be a time when we are overwhelmed with a grateful spirit or will we continue to be critical and cynical in a world spinning out of control. We won’t be thankful if we continue our hectic lifestyles so that we can get more stuff done.
The enemy knows how to keep us from being thankful by simply keeping us busy spending more time on social media, rushing to that one more “bargain” on Black Friday or simply not taking time to enter into the sanctuary of God. However, if we stop and spend time with the Lord, I am convinced we can say with Asaph:
Surely God is good to those who are pure in heart…the nearness of God is my good; I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may tell of all Your works.
May each of you have a blessed Thanksgiving!