Forget The Pity Party

“Rise, let us be going.” —Matthew 26:46

In the Garden of Gethsemane, the disciples went to sleep when they should have stayed awake. Once they realized what they had done it produced despair. The sense of having done something irreversible tends to make us despair. We say, “Well, it’s all over and ruined now; what’s the point in trying anymore.” If we think this kind of despair is an exception, we are mistaken. It is a very ordinary human experience. Whenever we realize we have not taken advantage of a magnificent opportunity, we are apt to sink into despair. But Jesus comes and lovingly says to us, in essence, “Sleep on now. That opportunity is lost forever and you can’t change that. But get up, and let’s go on to the next thing.” In other words, let the past sleep in the sweet embrace of Christ, and let us go on into the invincible future with Him.
There will be experiences like this in each of our lives. We will have times of despair caused by real events and we will be unable to lift ourselves out of them. The disciples, in this instance, had done a downright unthinkable thing— they had gone to sleep instead of watching with Jesus. But our Lord came to them taking the spiritual initiative against their despair and said, in effect, “Get up, and do the next thing.” If we are inspired by God, what is the next thing? It is to trust Him absolutely and to pray on the basis of His redemption.
Never let the sense of past failure defeat your next step.
— By Oswald Chambers

I call them pity parties. One quote I looked up said, “When no one is joining in on your pity party, maybe it’s time you left too.” I like that. There comes a time in everyone’s life that we stop giving excuses, quit complaining, and pull up our britches and carry on.

It reminds me of when Jesus was teaching the disciples about being a true follower of Him. It was not going to be easy. Period. You try explaining to others that the person you are eating with is God. You try answering all the questions when Jesus walks off like the “Lone Ranger,” never to be seen again. Then, imagine you are entering a new town after walking fifteen miles that day in the hot, sandy desert, and all you’re thinking about is a cool drink of water, a nice meal, and a warm bed to sleep in. What you get instead are stones of insults and a mob of haters. Jesus never said to get mad…although it would be normal to do so. Jesus never said bring extra kleenex…even though you may need more than a sleeve. Jesus never said to yell back, kick them in the throat, or threaten them with angels to burn their village. Here is what He said and here is what He did:

“If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet….I am sending you like sheep among wolves. Therefore be shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.” Matthew 10:14,16

So the next time you fall asleep while praying say, “Good Morning God” the next day and try again. If you're cracking open your Bible for the first time in weeks, get out the pledge, wipe it off, and find the story in Matthew 26 in the Garden. Things are going to happen in our walk with Christ. He saw the human side of us in the First Garden and He is waking us up in the Second Garden. So let’s wake up, move on from our mistakes, dust off our boots, and head in to a new town.

You never know, someone may be waiting to break bread with you.

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