2013-05-31 - Rest
Summer is the season when many people vacation. They seek a little rest and relaxation. I know that is what I'm looking for when I go on vacation. And since my vacation is just around the corner, I spent some time thinking about rest.
Genesis 2:1-3 (NASB)
God sanctified it. Sanctify is a big church word that simply means to set aside for a special purpose. God set aside the seventh day to rest. God must've liked the idea because when he went to give the top ten rules to Israel he included it and even made a big deal of it. For some of the rules he just had a few words but this one he discussed at length with Moses.
Exodus 20:8-11 (NASB)
God wanted us to rest but man's not real good about listening to God so over the years people started adding lots of rules and regulations to this simple command. Rules don't relax me; they stress me out. And so following rules bring me no rest. By Jesus' day, legalism had destroyed the rest making it more work to make sure you avoided work. It just wasn't fun anymore.
Rest is clearly an important activity, but Id argue that in our modern busy world, we dont do a great job of emphasizing how important it really is. What about you? Do you take a regular sabbath? What does a day of rest really look like?
I love to relax when I have time but for me a day of rest often fills up with lots of busy work and I really dont get much rest. Have you ever heard someone say, I did so much this weekend that I had to come back to work or to school just to rest? Thats not real rest.
Luckily, God has an answer.
Matthew 11:28-30 (NASB)
Read this slowly and mull it over as you do.
Come to me all who are weary, tired, and in need of down time.
Whoa! Did you get that If you're sick and tired of your work come to me and I will give you my work. That is just crazy talk but Jesus likes crazy talk. He likes to flip things around and make you pause and really dwell on what he is saying. If you are tired of work, come to me and I will give you my work. That makes no sense at all but let me share a story from a recent day of rest.
I was cutting up some trees and my five-year old son wanted to help. He was struggling with picking up limbs on his own so as I lifted up a large log I asked him to come help me. Putting all the weight on my shoulders he held his hand under it and "helped" me with my work. I did all the heavy lifting but he was happier. He was resting in my work and didn't know it.
Real rest comes from God. In Exodus 33:14, God and Moses are talking when he says My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest. Real rest comes from simply being in God. Moses still had a lot of work to do but rest was in being in the Lord and the Lord in him. God still wanted Moses to lead his people thru the desert years and serve his people and so too Jesus rest includes a yoke. Rest in work. Rest in God's work.
So how will you rest this summer?
All scripture references from KJV unless otherwise noted