What Is Your Flea Treatment?
Scooter is our family dog. He is an eight-pound, very fluffy Pomeranian. Scooter is not good at anything other than looking really cute. On our walks at the park we are often stopped by others asking to touch his fur. He even attracted the eye of a news cameraman once and made the evening news in all of his cuteness.
He greets us at the door at the end of the workday with all the appropriate jumping, tail wagging, and sheer joy just because we are home. While he may have no special duties or gifts he loves us and we have grown to love him.
With summer comes one chore that cannot be neglected, flea treatment for Scooter. It would be quite easy for fleas to camp out in his thick fur. Scooter would be miserable as would we with all the scratching. So without fail, once a month we dig through the fur to apply flea prevention medication on his skin. Scooter can rest without scratching and we can rest because he is quiet!
Rest is an important part of life, especially with the fast pace of day-to-day living that comes with our culture. God’s word encourages us to rest (Ex. 31:15) and God modeled rest when He after created the universe and all that is in it (Gen. 2:2). As a confessed workaholic, I struggle with taking time to rest especially since Sunday is generally not a rest day for me as a pastor’s wife.
My first conviction of constant motion came through my middle son, Nathan. He asked if I would watch a movie with him. I replied, “I would love to just let me pick up this bit of sewing that needs to be done so I can make good use of the time.” Nathan’s response broke my heart, “Mom, do you never sit down and do nothing, even for me?” I put the sewing aside and sat doing “nothing” with my son.
I’m afraid I sometimes communicate that same message to God. Am I willing to just “rest” with God? Psalm 23:2a Says, “He makes me lie down in green pastures.” In A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23, W. Phillip Keller gives the details of what it takes for a shepherd to make it possible for his sheep rest.
Keller says that sheep will not rest unless the following conditions are met:
- the flock is free from friction (they are getting along with each other)
- sheep are free of fleas or parasites
- sheep are free of fear
- sheep are not hungry.
If any one of these conditions is not met the sheep will not rest and the flock will not do well. Most of us are not sheepherders so we sometimes miss the subtle messages that are found in Psalm 23. But this is what this one verse, “he makes me lie down in green pastures,” now says to me.
- Rest requires that my relationships with others be one that honors God. Sheep only fight when the shepherd is not present. That speaks volumes about my relationship with others and God, my Shepherd, in my life! If I’m taking time each day to make sure God is front and center, then the temptation to be agitated with others will not be there. I can “rest” in His presence and know my relationships will be in order.
- Rest also requires that I be free of fleas or parasites (figuratively speaking that is). Most of us do not get attacked by fleas but we do get attacked by things like over scheduling, worry, stress, mixed up priorities, discontent, sin, etc. Those “fleas” can bring many sleepless nights. The flea prevention medication comes in the form of Jesus Christ. Jesus can pick off the “fleas” and His strength in our lives can prevent further attacks. Being “flea” free means perfect rest in His overcoming. (I Pet 4:11; Phil 4:13; Matt 11:28)
- Rest requires that I be free of all fear. All of us on occasion feel fear or at the very least worry about the many stresses that come into our lives. Philippians 4:6 says, “Don’t worry about anything.” Jesus can handle it all. I just need to “rest” in his management skills.
- And last but not least, rest requires the proper food; our hearts and minds full of the word of God. And then we find rest in his fullness. (Matt 32:37; Rom 12:2)
True rest for the believer requires rest in His presence, confidence in His management, strength in His overcoming, and the fullness of His spirit. He is our Shepherd; we are His sheep. That is all we need for rest in our soul!