When Emily and I talk about going on vacation, the discussion invariably turns toward the best part of a getaway: doing nothing. Of course, nothing isn’t truly and literally nothing, because only dead people truly do nothing, unless your name is Bernie and it’s your weekend.
Even when we do nothing, we still do something. Eating and breathing come to mind, both of which I do on vacation. Yet we say “I’m doing nothing this weekend — it’ll be splendid!” Most people feel like they need some kind of break, a release from the monotony, a change of pace with less scrambling and more fishing. This, by the way, is why God has built the Sabbath into our weekly pace. We’re the ones who don’t do a very good job observing it (raises hand).
I’m tired of all the something I always have to do, so I want to do nothing, because I’ve had just about enough of doing something, and if I keep doing something then I will get to the end of my rope and be able to do only nothing, which is not good because they give me money to do something. By intentionally doing nothing now, I will be restored to do something later on. Let’s do something: nothing.
Know what I mean?
Or — Something is out of place and out of balance. I need to do nothing to clear my head and get things right. I need to get away from something and do nothing before I explode from doing something on the outside while I shrivel to nothing on the inside.
I’m so tired from doing something. It’s not working. Maybe I need to do nothing for a while.
Christians are supposed to be junior masters at living, because we follow the Master at living. Jesus was the best Liver (not the organ or disgusting meal — one who lives) who ever lived. We model our living after the Liver. Jesus was good at doing something. More than once, though, we see Jesus tired from all the something and ready to do nothing. He was always taking breaks, going off to pray, heading out to fish, sitting down to eat, laying down to nap, pressing snooze, sleeping through hurricanes, etc. Jesus knew how to kick it and kick back. Jesus often did something and sometimes, by the sheer exhaustion of being fully human, did nothing.
HEY. Nothing wrong with taking a break, especially if He did it. Reader: this is our model. The exhaustion you feel is quite real and certainly allowed in the Kingdom.
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.
I’m going to stop Matthew right here and make a confession. If I were Jesus, I wouldn’t say it like that. I would say
Come to me… I will give you rest… for my yoke is non-existent and my burden is no burden at all.
Ap ap ap. He doesn’t say that, Adam. He just doesn’t. – Matt.
Are you telling me, Matt, that Jesus doesn’t offer me a chance to come to Him and do nothing? These feet want to be up. Please. I need this, and He knows it.
Does He? – Matt.
The something yoke (following religious rules and just about pushing myself to the edge of proper religious behaviour and good manners) is heavy. The something burden (filling up with the empty calories from a screen to somehow scratch the divine itch) pushes down on my soul.
Take it all away, Jesus. Take away the something so that I have nothing.
No. You aren’t designed to be empty.
You aren’t designed to be burdenless.
You are designed to be in my easy yoke, carrying my light burden.
Instead, I’ll take away the yoke that’s held in place by empty religion. I’ll take away the burden that keeps you looking for me in the wrong places.
Here, Jesus says, is the nothing you’re looking for. It’s me. And I’m something.
Hm. As it turns out, Jesus doesn’t take it away to make nothing. Jesus exchanges one something for a better something. Even better, Jesus exchanges something for Someone.
Jesus changes our desires. I wanted to switch to neutral, veg, zone. But I was doing this outside of the presence of God and it simply didn’t work. I need that Jesus yoke.
This makes my heart beat a little faster. This makes me stare at the wall for longer than usual. This makes me squint.
nothing a better something.