If you want to learn how to speak Spanish, you can enroll in the class. If you want to figure out how to change the blades on your lawn mower, you can YouTube the instructions. And if you are looking for ways to improve your wardrobe, you can download a fashion app. Our world is full of Master Classes and self-help TED Talks that could potentially improve our lives. From better toothpaste to better workout routines, we have tons of information to help us win- on the outside. But where do we go for help on the inside? Where can we go to grant us a heart full of peace and joy? In this new sermon series, we will explore ancient disciplines that are designed to help us bring calm and order to our inside world. We will do this by observing people that actually practiced the discipline, looking for clues as to how these actions may help us. What we will discover is that following these practices can help reduce stress and open our minds to new insights.
You can become a winner on the inside. And if the Bible is correct, this could change everything about your outer world as well.
Sermon #1 A Restful Heart
Main Verses: 1 Kings 18, Matthew 11
Elijah the Prophet lived in a stressful time. He was the prophet to the Northern Kingdom of Israel. He had the prickly task of confronting King Ahab and his wife, Jezebel. And even though the nation was in a challenging spot Elijah had a string of successes (raising the dead and calling fire from heaven). And yet, even with all these successes, Elijah found himself in a despondent place, contemplating suicide. As we journey with Elijah through victory and defeat, we will uncover how Elijah found the strength he needed to carry on.
Consider the following:
Karoshi is the Japanese word for death by being overworked
Here is how one article described this:
The pandemic has triggered widespread concerns about the physical and psychological toll of prolonged stress, sleep deprivation and social isolation. A landmark study by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the International Labour Organisation published earlier this month found that 745,000 people died in 2016 from stroke and ischemic heart disease as a direct result of having worked at least 55 hours a week. For the first time on a global scale, long hours at work have been established as responsible for about one-third of all deaths. Frank Pega, WHO’s technical lead on the study, says that despite clear evidence linking overwork to death, for 20 years, “we had overlooked this risk factor.” Wired Magazine 02.06.21
Americans are the biggest offender. Each year Americans work on average more years than other developed countries:
- 137 more hrs/yr than Japan
- 260 more hrs/yr than the British
- 499 more hrs/yr than the French
Overworking Risk factors include:
- You are not getting enough sleep
- You are not eating well
- You are not exercising
- You are neglecting relationships
- You are self-medicating
We need rest
Today’s test case for rest comes from the life of Elijah. This prophet was powerful, respected and highly successful in his role. And he also faced burnout. Let’s see if we can understand his burnout and then look for clues about restoring a healthy balance back into our lives.
- Success can create even more stress and less rest
- Elijah was at the center of the national crisis (1 Kings 17:1, 18:1)
- Elijah raised the widow’s son (1 Kings 17:22)
- Elijah called fire down from heaven (1 Kings 18:36-39)
- Here are some ways that stress can manifest itself
- You’ve done much work, but things don’t seem to change (19:1)
- You feel afraid when you hear of a verbal threat (19:1-3). You lose the confidence you once had (18:15, 19:3)You avoid your tasks (19:3a)You check out of relationships (19:3b). You desire just to quit it all (19:4a)You don’t want to live any longer (19:4b)
- The most successful and godly people can be anxious, afraid, and depressed.
- It’s at our lowest point that God speaks to us:
- Never underestimate the power of some good food, something to drink, and a nap
- You can’t do this on your own strength (19:8-9)
- God finally speaks, but only after Elijah stops running.
- If God is not speaking to you, stop running.
- If God is not speaking to you, get quiet.
Reflect on how you are doing in these three categories
- Rest (and exercise)
- Recall your purpose (v. 15)
- Remember you’re not alone (v. 18)