The biggest challenge in front of us right now is building partnerships with other people. We need people who want to join our team to pray for us and send us to Africa through their financial support. This requires that Autumn and I first prayer for God to speak before us and on our behalf; that he will call out to the people he wants to join our team. The next requirement for us is to do the asking. We have to call, write to, visit, speak with, or in some way contact the people God puts on our minds or brings to our attention. This requires action on our part. We know that God is doing the bulk of the work (and we thank him for that!) but we also know that he wants us to partner with him in this mission – to co-mission with him.
Even with God on the team, co-missioning can lead to stress and extra busyness. We already have a full schedule in life with jobs, raising kids, teaching kids, training kids, community volunteering, and everyday fellowship with friends and family. These are all good things and none of them can be cut out of the schedule (although reworking the schedule is sometimes needed).
So how can we do it without the burnout? Some people say that “God won’t give you more than you can bear. So, just keep working at it.” The truth is that God loves giving his children more than they can bear because it forces us to realize that we cannot do life well without his help. Jesus taught that all things are possible with God (Matthew 19:26), but nothing is truly possible without him (John 15:5).
Going further, Jesus continued that the only way to accomplish anything of lasting value is to first rest in him. To do, you must be still. (Master Jesus was teaching this sage advice long before Master Yoda came around!)
Jesus didn’t say we must not do; rather he taught what we must do. We must stop trying on our own and rest in him. Read John 15 and notice that Jesus doesn’t say, “the one who does good things bears fruit.” Neither does he explain, “the one who works for me bears much fruit.” He didn’t say, “the one who tries earnestly and intentionally will bear the fruit.”
He says, “the one who abides in me will bear much fruit…the one who abides in me and I in him.”
- to stay or live somewhere
- to remain or continue to remain with/in
- to accept or bear (someone or something bad, unpleasant, etc.)
If I remain, stay, and continue in Jesus and he remains, stays, and continues in me, then I will bear much fruit. Yet, abiding is still not a work for me to do in the sense that I know work. Abiding is an action, but it is the action of staying. Don’t move to work, but stay and be worked through. Using Jesus’ analogy, a vine produces the fruit and Jesus said he is the vine. Does a grape have to do anything itself to become a grape? No. As long as the grape stays connected to the vine and the vine remains healthy, then the budding grape will form into a fully formed grape. The true vine will always be healthy and full or produce – it’s the grape in this case who has the choice to remain connected or wiggle itself off. Jesus wants me to simply stay on the vine, remain in the vine, live on the vine and the fruit which the Vine produces will be counted as mine. The fruit produced by Jesus becomes mine. More certainly, what I become in Jesus is the fruit he produces.
The Stewart family has a huge task before us and Jesus wants us to stop doing without him and let him work. As we learn to rest in him, he will show us what to do. This kind of work won’t lead to burnout but to glorious joy. This principle is as counter-intuitive as when Jesus said, “to find your life you must lose it” (Matt 10:39). To live I must die and to produce I must rest!
How well are you resting in the Vine? Today, seek God in prayer asking for the light of the Holy Spirit to illuminate this great mystery of abiding. Jesus has work for you to do. The vine gives the instructions to the grape and the grape simply does what the vine provides. What does Jesus want you to do? How does he want you to be on co-mission with him?
If he is stirring your heart to pray for the Stewarts, let us know by signing up for the prayer team and start praying. We need it! If you are moved to provide financial support, we welcome you to the team as a monthly partner or one-time financial supporter. See the Monthly Partner page or the One Time Gift page for information on how to give.
To truly live is to fully die and to abundantly produce is to wholly rest.
Your faith will rise and your joy increase as you go after Jesus.