When I'm in Mexico where our Latin American outreach is based, my "Taco Bell" Spanish doesn't get me very far. I mean, how much meaningful communication can you have when all you know are words like "enchilada" and "burrito grande"? "You look burrito grande today." Our Director of Latin American Ministry, David Isais, is a wonderful translator and my best hope of communicating while I'm there. Needless to say, I light up when someone there is fluent in English - I can converse unassisted! In the course of talking with one bilingual, Mexican man, I learned he is involved with automobile racing in that country, sort of the Mexican NASCAR. He's an engineer. When I asked him if they have anything like America's Indianapolis 500, he told me they don't do long distance races like that. They can't. Then I asked him about the pressure of repairing a race car during one of those pit stops, and he informed me that they don't have pit stops. They don't stop. But they can't go as far as cars that do.
Well, I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You about "No Pit Stops."
Cars can't run indefinitely without stopping to be serviced. Neither can people. So God builds in pit stops. Our word for today from the Word of God, the familiar words of Psalm 23. Psalm 23:1, "The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want." Notice what kind of things our Shepherd leads us to. "He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He restores my soul."
God leads us along paths where we will lie down. You have to stop of course, to lie down. And the reason for stopping is to restore your soul. Sounds remarkably like cars in long, demanding races - they occasionally leave the race for some servicing - for a pit stop. It's interesting that in Mexico, where they apparently they don't stop, they cannot finish a long-distance race. Well, neither can you. That's how God created you.
Maybe you're really caught up in your race right now. And God's Sabbath principle is out the window. He has built pit stops into our creation. But you've been running so hard and so fast lately, that you keep saying, "I can't stop now. I'll pull over later. I must keep driving." And as you become more and more unrested, you are getting crankier, more impatient, more prone to errors in judgment, less creative, more mechanical, you're less caring. You weren't made to run like this. Eventually, you will burn up - or out - if you keep driving without stopping.
If you are consistently running without stopping, you are running right past your Shepherd, whose will for you includes regular rest and restoring. There's nothing noble about running yourself to death. In fact, there's something very wrong with it.
If you don't choose lie down, the Shepherd may literally "make" you lie down. If you don't get your Sabbaths, maybe they will one day come and get you. And you will be able to run a much longer race if you take time for pit stops. Without those stops, you may be able to run real hard, but not nearly as long as those who stop.
You may be addicted to your own adrenaline right now, to your own momentum. And you need to stop for God's love and servicing. You need regular refills of time with Him, of His perspective on what you're doing, of His refocusing you on the people you love, of His wonderful restoring. But He won't chase you around the track with an oil can, He'll service you when you stop.
It's time to, as God has commanded us, "Be still and know that I am God" (Psalm 46:10). In your day, in your week, in your month, take time for a pit stop. It's stopping that ultimately keeps you running.