Summary: This message from a series that looks at God's desire for us to live life in a way that avoids being overloaded and overextended.
We are overloaded!!! Americans are living their lives at a break-neck pace, pushing the limits to live up to the expectations put on them by society. When compared to lives fifty years ago we see that there is something conspicuously missing. Our lives have very little time and space; if any. Americans once lingered and talked after dinner, visited neighbors, sat on the porch swing, went for long walks, helped kids with their home work and got a full night of sleep. Now our lives our perpetually busy with no time to even catch our breaths. What happened? Our culture has grown to measure people by their productivity and applauds those who push the limits. One lady put it this way, “I am so tired, my idea of a vacation is a trip to the dentist. I just can’t wait to sit in that chair and relax.” We are so busy that we have begun to squeeze God out of our lives and have no time to truly commit to ministry. In fact, we justify this pace by believing the lie that God understands what I have to do to be able to live. However in reality, we are exceeding the boundaries and limits that God has built into life. God designed us to have more space, more time and more reserves. In short God wants our lives to have a buffer zone. This buffer zone is known as margin. Over the next few weeks we are going to look at how we can begin to live within the boundaries that God has set for our lives. Today, we are going to identify the problem and begin to examine the boundaries that God has built into our lives.
I. With every step of progress our margins slowly shrink.
A. Technology was once viewed as being labor saving which would result in man having more leisure time.
1. James Berry wrote an article in the November 1968 issue of “Mechanix Illustrated” describing what he felt life would be like in the year 2008.
a. Flying cars traveling at 250 mph.
b. Domed cities.
c. The average work day will be approximately four hours.
2. Many believed in the 1960’s that because of computers and other technological advances the way man worked would change:
a. Wages and productivity would increase reducing the average work week to 20 hours by the year 1990.
b. Each family would only need one wage earner working five four hour days per week.
3. Progress and development has always been billed as the cure for the problems that plague mankind.
4. Progress and Technology is such a part of the fabric of society that we cannot imagine life without it.
B. Instead of relieving our burdens and problems, progress has developed a whole new set of problems.
1. Progress is defined as something that leads us to a higher stage of development.
2. The prediction of more leisure never materialized. What actually materialized was the reality of more work.
3. As technology increased our productivity, the expectations and demands on us increased.
4. A recent study published this past October found that Americans are the most overworked people in the world working an average of 46 hours per week.
5. Instead of leading us to a mountain top progress has overloaded us and plunged us into a valley of despair.
6. The words of Job describe the lives that the vast majority of us live.
7. The churning inside me never stops; days of suffering confront me. (Job 30:27—NIV)
II. We are so overloaded that our lives are lived a step away from shattering into pieces.
A. Being overloaded has resulted in an increase of emotional and physical ailments.
1. 45 million Americans suffer from some form of mental illness.
2. Ten percent of all Americans are taking an antidepressant.
3. Fifty percent of all Americans are taking at least one prescription drug.
4. Studies have shown that stress plays a role in the development of seventy-five percent of all illnesses.
5. Twenty-one percent of all emergency room visits are a result of stress and anxiety.
B. Being overloaded has resulted in the decreased health of or the brokenness seen in many relationships.
1. Progress does not have the means to build and nurture the relationships that are vital to our well being.
a. Social: my relationship to others.
b. Emotional: my relationship to self.
c. Spiritual: me relationship to God.
2. Progress focuses on economics, education and technology none of which have the ability to nurture these deep relationships that we desperately need.
3. We have overloaded ourselves and exceeded our limits personally, emotionally, physically and financially to the point that the margin necessary to truly develop relationships is non-existent.
4. Studies have linked the rising rates of divorce, drug abuse, alcoholism, suicide and childhood delinquency to our society being literally overworked and overloaded.