Friday, 15 October 2010
Mark 16: Whose Energy?
How do you get things done? I realized recently that anxiety fuels most of my work. Tornado energy, I call it.
Mark alerted me the other day, “Honey, we’re almost out of toilet paper.” “Are you sure? I thought I just bought some!” Alarm rang in my words. We were expecting out of town company later in the week. I remembered several Christmases ago when some special guests asked if we had any more toilet paper. A quick check showed me we were completely out. I offered them the last of the paper napkins, which they graciously accepted and then drove their rental car to Vons and restocked our supply.
Mark interrupted my thoughts. “Stand down, Private, it’s not a red alert. Hardly even a yellow one…yes, I checked, and yes, we are almost out. I’ll pick some up if you want.”
No. I assured him I would handle it. Crisis averted.
I can turn anything into a crisis. With it comes the burst of adrenaline that I’ve come to rely on to galvanize my energy into action. This works on all fronts–domestic and otherwise. I call it the “oh no!” approach to life:
- Oh no! We’re almost out of toilet paper (or clean underwear or milk or gas)!
- Oh no! I have to teach at 6am tomorrow!
- Oh no! The whole family is coming for Christmas!
My inner alarm rings and I’m off to avert the next crisis, whether real or imagined.
No wonder I’m often fatigued. Psalm 127:2 labels my malady and calls it futile:
It is vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep.
Do you identify with the phrase “anxious toil”? Or do you find your energy from other moods? Angry energy works for some of us. I can clean my whole house on the power of a single argument with my husband. Or take ambitious energy. Just dangle a reward in front of me, Mom of the Year or Best Pilates Teacher in San Diego, and I’m off and running.
Is there any other way to work?
Mark 16 has directed our attention to the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. This brief passage — only eight verses — emphasizes the utter shock produced in the first witnesses. The three women arrive, heads down, spices in hand. Their greatest hope was to see the body of their beloved. Their biggest problem was to move the stone away.
He is risen!
You can almost hear their spice packages thump to the ground. Their hands tremble. Their words evaporate. Their hearts pound. Their feet fly.
He is risen!
The greatest crisis in the universe, the death of God the Son, hasn’t been averted, but reversed. The Spirit has snatched the Son from death, raised him to Life as the first born of the New Creation, and exalted him to the highest throne in the universe.
He is risen!
This is the power of the resurrection. Next to it all other power pales. The power of nuclear warfare, the power of technology, even the vaunted 4G network and iphone 5, 6, and 7, is peanuts next to this.
And this is the power God wants to give us to fuel our lives today.
That may sound like a self-centered application of the resurrection, but it’s not. It’s Biblical. Paul prayed:
that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ…may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation…that you may know…what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at this right hand in the heavenly places. Ephesians 1:17-20
This is the power God wants to place in our hands. He wants to replace our anxious energy, our angry energy, our ambitious energy with his resurrection energy.
How? What does it look like? When the baby has a fever of 106 or the car breaks down or the boss dumps work on you or the husband fails to appear or . . . , before you jump into action, hit the pause button.
Read Ephesians 1:19-20. This power is revealed by the Spirit, received by faith. Ask the Spirit to show it to you. Ask the Father to work it in you. Ask the Son to help you believe this, now.
Then act, confident that he is near and that he hears. He will help you work hard with his energy, just like he did for Paul.
“For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.” Colossians 1:29
Thank you for studying Mark with me! Happy summer to each of you…