Summary: This sermon focuses on Isaiah's words in Chapter 40. 21-31, and the reading in Mark 1. 29-39 where Jesus goes away to a solitary place to pray.
Sermon: Are you weary?
Are you tired? Here are a few one-liners that mum’s have written in answer to, “You know you’re tired when…”
You know you’re tired when...you sob uncontrollably at ‘Toy Story 3’ and have to be comforted by your 7 year old. You know you're tired when...you pour orange juice into your tea instead of milk. You know you’re tired when you try putting the cereal box in the fridge & it takes a good few seconds to realize it’s not the milk! Are you tired?
Market analysts like Mintel reveal that one in three of us admit we’re permanently worn out because of the pace of modern life. There are many reasons for weariness and certainly, the vast majority of them are due to ill health – or there is a legitimate physical reason for tiredness. If it’s a weariness due to the pace of life today, one suggested solution that health experts propose is to meditate for at least 12 minutes a day. This suggestion includes, cutting back on multi-tasking, focusing on doing one thing at a time, and giving that all of your attention. When you combine prayer with meditation on Scripture, or a reading, or a piece of music, then the weariness tends to lift or at least lesson. When it’s hard to relax, I find listening to a restful piece of music helps.
Some of you might be advocates of the power nap. Recent research has shown that a 20-minute power nap boosts concentration, alertness, creativity, and mood. Proponents of the power nap were people like, Thomas Edison, Winston Churchill, and Napoleon. Companies such as, Nike, British Airways and Continental have started to promote power naps in the workplace. Google has gone a step further and provided relaxation pods for its employees. These contain soothing music and light shows, with a gentle rumble function to wake them up after the 20 minutes have past.
I’m not telling you all to have a nap now but if you do – I’ll be fine with that since the benefits far outweigh the disadvantages – unless you happen to snore loudly. I want you to know that I understand tiredness. I relate to the weariness that happens because of everyday life. Some of you are wading through discouragement and hopelessness – seeing no way out and this brings a general weariness in itself. You might be lacking in energy and desperately seeking some solution.
These verses from Isaiah 40 and particularly beginning with verse 21, celebrates the divine work of creation in beautiful poetic language. The One who sits enthroned above the circle of the earth – stretches out the heavens – spreads them out like a tent – brings princes to naught – reduces the rulers of this world to nothing. The One who does all these things is incomparable – He brings out the starry host one by one and calls forth each of them by name. Did anyone see the super blue moon on the 31st? Nasa tells us that the blue moon happens when there are two full moons in the same calendar month. A super moon happens when the moon’s closest approach to Earth coincides with a full moon, making it appear at least 14 per cent bigger and brighter in the night sky. It was splendid and made me wish I had a telescope in the house. This was the creation of our Everlasting God.
What does Isaiah say about our Everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth? Isaiah says, “He will not grow tired or weary.” Let me say it again, “He will not grow tired or weary.” Well thank God for that! If you were training in a gym – would you go to someone who always looked tired for help? Normally you would choose the person who looked the healthiest and the most energetic. When Hugh and I were about to move to Melksham, we received several quotes from moving companies. The cheapest price was from an elderly chap who nearly collapsed on the third floor of the Oswestry manse and who told us that his colleague had been off with a serious heart condition. On consideration, we thought it better to go with someone else even though it cost a little more. After the move, I turned to Hugh and I said, “I’m really glad we don’t have to do that for another five years!”
Our God does not grow tired or weary! In fact, Isaiah says, “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.” Are you weak today? Do you need some strength? Tiredness and weariness is not just something that is attributed to us older folks. Isaiah rightly says, “Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall.” Then Isaiah uses the ‘but’ word. Whenever you see that little but word in Scripture, it is good to pay attention. That little word can contradict all the rest. You and I might grow tired and weary “but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.” It’s not maybe or they might – it’s they will renew their strength. The strength that is received from the Lord will be such that they feel able to soar on wings like eagles – to run and not grow weary – to walk and not be faint. WOW! Don’t you want that kind of strength today?