In vain you rise early and stay up late,
toiling for food to eat—for he grants sleep to those he loves.
Those words from Psalm 127 jumped off the page at me. I know I’ve read them before…Psalm 127 is a well-known chapter. It starts with…”Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain…” I’ve obviously read it before. So, why had I never seen that part about toiling for food to eat?
Perhaps it’s because food has never before been as hard as it is now. Between food allergies in my son, drastic changes in my diet for my health, and an overall desire to live and eat more simply, it seems that every meal–whether it’s at home or out–is a whole ordeal. Add to it each individual’s tastes and preferences (and maybe 1 or 2 picky eaters) and it becomes a whole overwhelming and exhausting ordeal! So, when I read the words, “In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat…” well, that strikes a chord.
That, my friends, feels like my life.
Let’s be honest…that feels like all our lives.
A Common Ground
Maybe food is not the issue for you. Maybe it’s laundry. Or homeschooling. Or sticky fingerprints everywhere.
Maybe it’s an insanely busy schedule and so many demands on you from everyone around you that you simply can’t grasp how to fulfill them all.
Maybe it’s a season of projects…projects bigger than you that consume more time and energy than you can give. That thing that you rise early for and stay up late toiling over. That thing that you pour your blood, sweat, and tears into–either out of passion or responsibility, or both. But instead of feeling alive and invigorated at the end of the day, all that pouring out of yourself leaves you empty, drained, and wondering how you can possibly do enough to stay on top of it all.
Well, here’s the news: You can’t.
Sorry to be so blunt, but you simply can’t. do. enough. You were never meant to.
Look at the verse that follows that passage:
He grants sleep for those He loves.
He grants it. That He is God. Creator of the universe. Full of infinite wisdom, boundless strength, and enduring energy. He is the One who grants it.
What is the “it”? Sleep…rest…peace.
So when He says,
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me…and you will find rest for your souls…
He means it.
We were not meant to be enough or do enough in our own strength. We are finite beings, with finite resources. Or, as my husband likes to tell me, “You can only do what you can do.”
God is infinite. Eternal. All-powerful.
And He loves us…in fact, He loves us enough to give us rest.
That’s good news–no, that’s great news! Before you settle into your La-Z Boy thinking we’re off the hook, let me assure you we are not. God is not some giant genie waiting for our whimsical commands while we sit on our blessed assurance eating bon bons all day. That’s not how this thing works.
If we don’t have to work ourselves into utter exhaustion, and we don’t grow into couch potatoes, what do we do?
An Uncommon Solution
In the words of Sarah Mackenzie, we simply bring our baskets:
We are weary because we forget about grace. We act as though God’s showing up is the miracle. But guess what? God’s showing up is the given. Grace is a fact.
If you are being asked to feed a multitude with a tiny basket of loaves and fish, then bring your basket. He starts with that…We bring our basket–whatever talents, skills, abilities we have–and we seek Him with everything we are. He works the miracle…
Remember your true task. Surrender everything. Bring your loaves and your fish, even if you think them completely insufficient. They are insufficient. You are insufficient. But His grace is not.
~from Teaching from Rest: A Homeschooler’s Guide to Unshakable Peace
Oh, how I love that: “They are insufficient. You are insufficient. But His grace is not.”
How many times have I worked my sorry, Type-A self to utter exhaustion then tossed my weak and weary attempts heavenward along with a half-hearted plea for God’s grace and blessing to cover my insufficiencies?! What if I shook things up and started with a plea for grace?
What if I learned a lesson from the boy in Matthew 14 and brought my gift–no matter how insignificant it seems–to Jesus first? What if I took what was in my basket (my gifts, my talents, my abilities) and truly gave them (surrendered them) to Jesus? What if I lived like I believed His showing up was the given? His grace was the given? That no matter what I had to offer, He is more than enough to cover the gaps.
What if, for just one moment, I stopped living like it was all dependent on me and simply brought my simple basket to Him, expecting a miracle?
The One who took two small fish and five loaves of bread and fed thousands.
Imagine what He could do with our baskets.
What’s waiting in your basket that He can multiply?