‘Perpetual Motion’ is the name of a piece of roadside art we pass regularly, as we drive to our weekend teaching courses in the Republic of Ireland. It’s a large black sphere covered with white and yellow painted ‘road markings’, and can be seen by all the cars passing by at high speed. It’s situated at a major motorway junction where people are occupied with the business of driving their cars.
My attention is always drawn to this sculpture as we drive past, as I feel our lives seem to be lived in perpetual motion. We’re so often driving to one or other of the places where we’ve been invited to share the work of Ellel Ministries, and it really is a complete delight to serve the Lord in this way. But one definition of perpetual motion is motion that continues without any external source of energy. So perpetual motion in this sense is not a real possibility for us.
In Psalm 23 the Lord makes it clear that we need to renew our energy, and that He will provide all we need. But whenever I read the line, ‘He makes me to lie down in green pastures;’ I’m reminded of my babysitting days. It does seem as if children are full of perpetual motion doesn’t it? I vividly remember making the children lie down, only to get two steps out of the room and know they were up again. And then again, and again. The reason they kept getting up? They’d been having fun. They enjoyed what they’d been doing and wanted to keep doing it. They would eventually, sometimes with good humour, and other times with a stuck-out bottom lip and cries of “but I don’t want to”, go to bed and stay there. Within just a few minutes they would be deeply asleep, resting and being refuelled for another fun day tomorrow.
I sometimes wonder if we miss the green pastures of tender grass and still waters of rest the Lord leads us to, because when He brings us there and makes us lie down, quick as a flash, we’re up again. We long for our soul to be restored and wonder why it’s not happening but in this luscious pasture we can’t keep still for wanting to keep serving. Maybe what we do is fun and we enjoy our work. Or maybe we don’t rest for worrying about what we’ve forgotten, what we might have to do, or where the next top up point will be.
Perpetual motion is not sustainable. Friction will slow us down, and our energy will diminish. We will need refreshing, renewing and restoring.
Prayer: Father God, thank You that You’re just who Jesus said You are, the best Father ever. Your word says You want me to be able to rest and be restored, and that You make provision for that. I’m sorry where I’ve got so excited by the things of the day that I’ve forgotten that You want me to rest. I’m sorry where I’ve forgotten that You’re completely able to look after all my needs, and I’ve been running round in worry trying to meet them myself. Please help me, Lord, to receive all Your benefits. In Jesus’ name, Amen.