The Paradigm of Efficiency
"Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls."
- Matthew 11: 28-29
My whole life I have lived for a life of efficiency as the world describes it. The definition of efficient is achieving maximum productivity with minimum wasted effort or expense. We live in a world that chases efficiency and praises those that exhibit it. Then I read verses like the one in Matthew 11, and I start to question this paradigm of efficiency. Am I chasing productivity over chasing God? Am I resting in my own abilities over resting in Him?
Here in these verses, Jesus shows us that true rest is found in Him and that we should learn from His life. The more I learn from Jesus, the more I find that my own definitions of efficiency are reconstructed by a life that was operating from love and not striving; the life of my Savior. As we surrender the need to be the most efficient and productive, we become more aware of our need for Jesus, and in turn, we learn to rest in His goodness.
There are countless stories of Jesus’ gentle and "lowly in heart" way of life, but one of my favorites is found in Mark 5:24-34 when Jesus stopped in the middle of a large crowd because a woman reached out and touched his clothes.
The story starts with Jesus on His way to heal a synagogue leader’s daughter who was at the point of death. Yet along the way, surrounded by a large crowd, He felt power come out from His garments as a woman struggled to get through the crowd. She knew if she could just touch Him, the bleeding that she had suffered with for 12 years would be completely healed. She was right. Mark 5:29 says that after she touched His garments “immediately the flow of blood dried up and she felt in her body that she was healed from the disease.”
At the moment that Jesus felt the healing power go out from Him, He stopped. He stopped in the middle of this large crowd. He stopped on His way to heal a girl who was almost dead. He stopped even after the miracle had already occurred. He stopped when He could have kept going. The job was seemingly done. Yet, He stops to look at the woman and says, “your faith has made you well; go in peace and be healed from your disease” (Mark 5: 34).
In His stopping, we see the gentle and "lowly in heart" way of life that Jesus lived. He was not worried about the reactions of the crowd. He was not worried about the time He had to get to the girl who was sick. He was not worried about the next task. He stopped to show us that all we need is one touch from Jesus to be healed. He stopped to show us that faith is what makes us well.
This story challenges my striving for efficiency to look at life from a different perspective. Am I listening for when the Lord says to me, “Stop and receive a touch from me?” In Jesus’ stopping, He was able to get more done then if He were to go from one task to the next. This woman’s story has been widely talked about and recognized among generations. Her story has increased my faith countless times and probably yours too. I am thankful that Jesus stopped.
So, the Lord says to you, “Come to me, [SPEAK YOUR NAME HERE] who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11: 28-29
Stop, and come to Him. All we need is one touch. Let us learn from Jesus that the rest our souls are striving for in our own efficiencies can only be found in Him. Let God’s rest fall afresh upon you today. Embrace the seemingly inefficient moments and look for God’s glory on display.