Summary: The pulls in our lives compel us to act compassionately in behalf of others... and ourselves.
Title: The Power of Pull
Text: Mark 6:30-34 (53-56)
Thesis: The pulls in our lives compel us to act compassionately in behalf of others… and our selves.
Sometimes when we think of the word “force” we are thinking in terms of power and speed.
G-Force as related to gravitational pull is a unit of force equal to the force of gravity. It is used indicate the force a body is subjected to when it is accelerated. G-Force is what you feel when you are riding in a jet as it accelerates down the runway and lifts off into a steep climb. The more rapid the pull (or thrust) away from the pull of gravity, the greater the G-Force.
Sometimes we think of “force” in terms of numbers. G- Force is a Disney story coming out on the 24th about a team of trained secret agent guinea pigs that take on a mission for the US government. Armed with the latest high-tech spy equipment three guinea pigs: Darwin, Blaster, and Juarez, along with a literal fly-on-the-wall reconnaissance expert named Mooch and a mole named Speckles (who is the computer and information specialist), are dispatched to stop a diabolical billionaire from taking over the world with household appliances. In the case of Disney’s G-Force three super-hero guinea pigs, a fly and a mole team up as a force to defeat evil.
Often when we think of “force” we think in terms of being coerced or constrained in order to get a confession or compel us to do something we aren’t particularly excited about doing.
Years ago I was with an elderly lady who was waiting to have an angiogram procedure to check for any blockage in her arteries. While we waited the heart doctor stopped by and began to ask her a questions. He eventually asked her if she smoked. She answered, “No.” He then asked her if she had ever smoked. And she answered “Yes, but not anymore.” He asked her how long ago she had smoked. She answered, “Oh, it’s been a long time?” He asked her, “How long ago?” And she answered, “Oh, I’d say about ten o’clock this morning.”
She ‘fessed-up because she was forced to do so. There are all kinds of “forces” at work in our lives. We appreciate some of them… others, not so much.
In my reading this past week I happened upon a sentence that was a stirring reminder of a truth I have long believed and taught. Here it is, “But we must remember that God is as fully active and present in our lives when we are making an effort as when we are not.” (Diogenes Allen, Spiritual Theology, Cowley, P. 9)
It was apparently a favorite teaching of the Apostle Paul. In II Corinthians 3:18 he reminds us that “as the Spirit of the Lord works within us, we become more and more like him and reflect his glory even more.” In Philippians he wrote, “And I am sure that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day that Christ Jesus comes back again.” And a chapter later he wrote, “For God is working in you, giving you the desire to obey him and the power to do what pleases him.” (Philippians 1:6 and 2:13)
Most of us may be inclined to think that our lives are pretty prosaic or dull and unimaginative or everyday and ordinary. However, if it be true that God is always at work in our lives, even the most dull and unimaginative, everyday and ordinary experience takes on new meaning. God is doing something in us and / or through us, and / or in and through the lives of others.
I think that our story today is an example of the multiple layers in which we may see God at work in our own lives and in the lives of others. And in keeping the our thoughts on G-Forces, God’s activity may be thought of as something of a God-Force… not a force that uses water boarding to coerce or bully us or overpower us into submission, but tugs or pulls us to himself and to others.
I think God is at work even in the pull of weariness.
I. The pull of weariness
Jesus said, “Let’s get away from the crowds for a while and rest.” There were so many people coming and going that Jesus and his disciples didn’t even have time to eat.” Mark 6:31
Many were coming and going and Jesus and his disciples did not even have time to stop for a meal.
We Americans are workaholics. Our culture demands it. We must be busy and we must be productive. Never mind that the rest of the industrialized world seems to think and live otherwise. The average Italian worker receives 42 days of vacation per year; a worker in France receives 37 days; in Germany the average worker receives 35 days per year; in Brazil, 34 days; in the United Kingdom 28 days; the Japanese receive 25 days; and the average American worker receives 13 days. The average U.S. worker works four hundred hours more each year than the average worker in Norway. Four hundred hours is equal to fifty, eight hour work days. (Ken Park, The World Almanac and Book of Facts (2006) (World Almanac Books, 2006), p. 755 and “Numbers,” Time, 9/17/2007, p. 20)