In our work, we interact with a lot of weary leaders. They began in the work of God with great passion and enthusiasm, but sometimes the work has begun to feel burdensome and even overwhelming. How does this happen?
There are a few classic authors I return to often. One is Andrew Murray, who was a late 19th and early 20th century South African pastor and author. This passage from Abide in Christ speaks powerfully to my tired friends:
“The idea they have of grace is this--that their conversion and pardon are God's work, but that now, in gratitude to God, it is their work to live as Christians, and follow Jesus. There is always the thought of a work that has to be done, and even though they pray for help, still the work is theirs. They fail continually, and become hopeless; and the despondency only increases the helplessness.
“No, wandering one; as it was Jesus who drew you when He [said] ‘Come,’ so it is Jesus who keeps you when He says ‘Abide.’ The grace to come and the grace to abide are alike from Him alone. That word Come, heard, meditated on, accepted, was the cord of love that drew you [near]; that word Abide is even so the band with which He holds you fast and binds you to Himself.” (Murray, Andrew. Abide in Christ. Fort Washington: Christian Literature Crusade, 1968, p. 23.)
One of the messages I was given many years ago came from one of my mentors, Wayne Anderson. He often said that “Just as surely as we are saved by grace, we live by grace, lead by grace, and serve by grace.” Grace is not just the starting line. It is the entire race. Grace is not just the entry way. It is the whole pathway.
Jesus invitation to “Come to me” is a gracious gift to be received, embraced and allowed to be very fruitful. His invitation to “Abide in me” is just as gracious a gift to be equally welcomed. The vine is drawing the branch to abide. Our Father, who is the gardener, is tending our lives well.