Back in 2017, I received an invitation from the Queen to join her at Buckingham Palace. I turned her down.
Because I’d already heard her on the radio. I’d read her written messages. I’d seen her on TV plenty of times.
That was enough for me.
Of course not! Lizzie and I went there with a great sense of privilege, anticipation and honour, and had a wonderful time.
Now, what is on offer today, to all of us, is not a personal invitation from the Sovereign of a nation, rather one from the Sovereign of the Universe, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords!
So below is the first of five talks given last week under the theme title ‘Come!’ I’ll post each one week by week if you want to take a listen. They were given at Lee Abbey, one of my favourite places, in North Devon. You could join us next year if you wanted. The series was as follows:
Here is the first:
Here are just a few bits if you haven’t the time to listen:
Father Thomas Green suggested this prayer: “Lord let me be just as disturbed about this situation (or this person’s behaviour) as you are – no more and no less. If you are angry let me be angry too, but if you are not disturbed let me share your peace.” He continues: “It is amazing and quite humbling how often my disturbance simply dissolves once I say that prayer and really mean it.”
As Corrie Ten Boom put it ‘worry does not empty tomorrow of sorrow; but it empties today of strength.’
Stress management experts say that only two percent of our “worrying time” is spent on things that might actually be helped by worrying. The figures below illustrate how the other 98 percent of this time is spent:
40% on things that never happen
35% on things that can’t be changed
15% on things that turn out better than expected
8% on useless, petty worries
Dallas Willard talks about the secret of an easy yolk, which is that if you want to experience the life of Jesus, you have to adopt the lifestyle of Jesus. Following Jesus is meant to involve living his way, it’s a lifestyle, a way of life, not just a set of ideas or a program or a list of commands or prohibitions.
Some years ago in British Columbia a young man looking for work approached a foreman of a logging crew and asked him for a job. “It depends,” replied the foreman “lets see you take this one down.” The young man stepped forward, and skillfully felled a great tree. The foreman was impressed and explained, “you can start on Monday!”.
Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday rolled by. Thursday afternoon the foreman approached the young man and said, “You can pick up your paycheck on the way out today”.
Startled, the young man asked, “I thought you paid on Fridays”, “Normally we do” answered the foreman, “but we are letting you go today because you have fallen behind. Our daily charts show that you have dropped from first place on Monday to last place on Wednesday”. “But I’m a hard worker”, the young man objected, “I arrive first, leave last, and I’ve even worked through my coffee breaks!”. The foreman sensing the boy’s integrity, thought for a minute and then asked, “Have you been sharpening your axe?”, the young man replied, “Well, no, Sir. I have been working too hard to take the time.”
How about you? Too busy to sharpen your axe? Prayer is the hone that gives you the sharp edge. Without prayer, the more work you do the duller you will get. We need to take time to stay sharp as we go about our work – and see our work as God’s work, in whatever sphere!