“My granddaddy always said, if you got a problem you can’t solve, it helps to get it out of your head. Pie, it’s good.” These words from Men in Black III caught me off guard. But when I stepped back I realized it’s really a great lesson for us Jesus Followers. Watch the clip then check out my comments below.
Don’t you just love J’s response, “…you know, we’ve been doing smart stuff. We’ve been following clues, doing real police work… it might be time we do something stupid, somethin’ that ain’t got nothin’ to do with nothin’. You know what K, now I want some pie!”
So often our spiritual growth and creativity is stymied precisely because we’ve spent too much time focusing on “the problem”. We need to set it aside and get away. We need to eat some pie!
As K and J are at the diner eating pie, J is agitated. “World class serial killer out there, and we’re having pie!”
“I sense you’re not embracing the concept here” K responds. “Pie don’t work unless you let it.”
It’s a funny line, but how often have I gone on “retreat” only to take all my problems with me and stew over them the whole time I’m away. It’s like I’ve never heard Jesus’ words:
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. Mt. 11:28-30
Just like pie, retreats, whether extended and away from home, or mini-retreats right where you are, don’t work unless you let them. Too often I’m like the young ox yoked to the mature lead ox. Instead of letting the mature ox carry the weight and let me follow him through the fields, I plunge ahead attempting to lead the way and, as a result, end up pulling his weight and mine until I crash into a heap of exhaustion. Can you relate to that?
I know my tendency is to go, go, go. It’s difficult for me to stop. In fact, it feels “stupid” to stop and do nothing – eat some pie, rest. How will I get everything done if I don’t keep going? Consistent with God’s upside-down Kingdom, forward progress, whether spiritual or on a particular project, requires us to rest.
I rarely solve problems by banging my head against them without a break. In fact, most often breakthrough comes as I let it all go and I’m drifting off to sleep, soaking up the warmth of a morning shower, or outside plunging my hands into garden soil. Like stopping to eat some pie, disengaging from the issue often frees my mind to rest, allowing new insights and creativity to emerge.
There’s a reason God didn’t suggest, but rather commanded, we take a day of rest each week. Our souls need it. Our bodies need it. And if we’re honest, we realize our communities, our churches, our involvements all need us to rest.
During this season of Epiphany, I find the simple reminder to rest a powerful invitation from God. Soon we’ll be transitioning from Epiphany to Lent, a season more noted for times of rest and reflection. Why not begin now? Why not enter into God’s rest today, allowing Jesus to carry the burden of the yoke across our backs? Simply recognizing our need and God’s invitation may be the greatest epiphany of the season.
Will you join me?