Here are some thoughts for you to ponder about rest, as a follow-on to last Sunday’s sermon:
Rest exposes the grip that work has on our lives. Busyness is in our bones. It takes all we have to not check emails, return calls, think about Monday, or stress over household responsibilities. All these things have their place and time, but they should not be the driving force in our lives. We should come to these tasks from a position of resting in God. Just try to stop these things even for a few hours and you will see how much control they have over you. This beginning step of recognition will help you along the path of Christian spiritual growth.
Rest reveals what we love. How satisfied are you in resting by worshiping God? Do you find church to be boring, time spent reading Scripture to be a duty, seasons of prayer to be monotonous, or family time to be awkward? These things should be the main methods of refueling our spiritual tanks. I’m not saying that TV, games, hobbies, and social media are wrong; I’m saying that they can never serve to fill your spirit. They are like eating cotton candy, they look so big and fun to begin with, but they are full of nothing. Just think of your most enjoyable recreation and ask yourself if you find it, or time with God, more enjoyable?
Rest is a sign of trust. When you stop working, you indirectly say I’m going to trust God to provide for me. Many of us work out of fear, others of us work out of identity. Our fears and misplaced identities can cause us to trust ourselves. This results in trusting our work more than we trust God. When we rest, even for a day, we center ourselves on the providence and care of God. We see Him as able to handle our fears, and we find our identity not in what we do, but in who we are: children of God.
Rest gives us a rhythm to life. Sabbath has a past in God’s rhythm in creation as he worked for 6 days and rested on the 7th blessing it. Sabbath is present in our salvation, Christ is the Sabbath rest for all who will come to him for rest. Sabbath has a future component to it for there remains for us a Sabbath rest to come. God has modeled for us a rhythm to life. When we don’t follow his pattern, our days run together and an unsettledness looms over our souls. Learn to live out of the pattern God gave - 6 days of work and activity, and 1 day of rest and worship.
Rest enables you to work in the power of God. In our redemption we remember that our works are rooted in grace. We love God because he has first loved us and our life of devotion is a life of gratitude for what he has done. Sabbath rest calls us to this habit of grace before work and grace assisted work. When we set aside a day of rest and worship our compass is realigned toward God. We remember what he has done, and the rest of the week becomes a living out of what God has done for us on that day.