Recently our family was given an amazing gift: a week-long trip to a stunning island in Fiji. After arriving on Mana Island, it took me a few days to adjust to my surroundings. Early on, I found myself rushing to get places. I was on holiday in Fiji with nothing to do except relax and I was rushing! I pointed out to myself the ridiculousness of my actions and took a look around me. There were lots of staff in the resort and not one of them was rushing. They were at work and not rushing and I was on holiday and still rushing! This made no sense to me so I forced myself to slow down and walk at a Fijian pace.
It got me thinking about our Western lifestyle. Many of us push ourselves for 48 weeks of the year in paid employment, operating at a relentless pace with a high level of stress. Then we take annual leave for a few weeks and do nothing so we can recover from a year of doing too much. It begs the question, why are we all working so hard and rushing all the time? What's it all for? And what does God think about this? Surely the One who created the daily rhythm of night and day and the annual rhythm of four seasons did not intend for his people to be always on the go, forever rushing to get somewhere or finish something.
Jesus has something vital to teach us about this. He offered the people of his day a different way of living. He asked them (and us): "Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me-watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly." (Matthew 11:28-30 The Message). Doesn't that sound amazing - learning to live freely and lightly? I want to live freely and lightly throughout the entire 52 weeks of the year, not just when I'm on holiday. I want to serve God freely and lightly. I want to do my daily work freely and lightly. But I can only do that when I keep company with Jesus.
Thank you, Fiji, for showing me a different pace of life and thank you, Jesus, for offering me your unforced rhythms of grace. Even more than a holiday in Fiji, I need to walk with you and learn your ways.