Week 9: Rest
25 At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; 26 yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. 27 All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. 28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 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. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:25-30
Let me ask you a question. Are you too busy? I know that in our culture that is a sacrilegious question. Being busy in our world is a sure sign of worth and value. In fact, it has become a common greeting. People ask “you staying busy?” And if you answer with anything other than the affirmative, then people would assume something must be wrong with you.
In fact, my favorite seminary professor told me on the day that I graduated, “if the devil can’t make you bad, he will make you busy.” What if I told you that our busy-ness is at odds with deepening our relationship with Jesus Christ? So let me ask again, are you too busy? Do you feel like you just need a break? Or a vacation? The problem is the last time you took a break or took a vacation you felt like you came home more tired than when you left. Well, if that’s the case then what’s the answer?
I find it interesting that Jesus brings up children in the passage that we just read about rest. He says that these things have been revealed to little children. One thing I know about little children is that they are not too busy. If they are busy it’s because their parents have loaded up the kid’s schedule. That says a lot more about the parents than the kids.
You see, when we are busy we tend to miss things. This morning, my 12-year old son couldn’t find his English notebook – he needs it for a test. He thinks he left it in his locker. He was in a hurry leaving school the other day, he had to rush to make it to baseball practice, and he assumed that the notebook was in his back pack. He simply overlooked it. Now if it’s that easy to miss a notebook because we are too busy, imagine how much we could be missing in regards to the Everlasting God because we are in a hurry to get to the next thing.
You see, when we are still we see things that otherwise we would never see. Maybe that’s why one of the commandments God gave us is to slow down once a week and take a Sabbath. Let me ask you…when is the last time you took one day out of the week to rest and refuel and reconnect? Has it been a while? Well, maybe that’s a part of the reason that we are so tired and worn out.
And if that’s you then Jesus has a word for you. It’s actually an invitation. He says to all that are weary, been running too hard, working too many hours, worn out from performing…He says come to me. That’s right, Jesus doesn’t give time management tips in order for you and I to get more done in less time. He simply invites us to come to HIM. And the offer is that He will give us rest, rest for our souls.
When we truly come to Jesus on His terms, that means that the trap of performance and pretending are over. His finished work on the cross tells us who we are, not what we can accomplish on this earth. That means that you work from victory instead of working for victory. You work from approval instead of for approval. You work from justification not for justification.
Now physical rest is important. It is very important. God created us in such a way that we should work hard for six full days and that we should be tired when we are finished with our work. Getting tired is a daily reminder that we are not self-sufficient and that we are not unstoppable. We must rest.
Again, physical rest is important, however, REST FOR YOUR SOUL…that’s more important. When your soul is at peace it will be because you are at peace with Jesus, our creator and sustainer. So with that in mind, is it time to take a look at your schedule? Has your inner driven-ness, which honestly is rooted either in your insecurity or ego, has it driven out your dependence on Jesus?
Life happens in the margins. Is there space in your day for the most important things like prayer, and family, and unagenda’d thoughts? I don’t even know if unagenda’d is a word but you know what I mean (just that time in your day to let your mind dwell on things as God directs your mind)? Is it time for you and I to lay down the performance and the pretending at the feet of Jesus and receive rest, rest for your soul?
May you not be too busy this day, or this week, or this season, or this year. Especially, may you not be too busy and neglect the deepening of your relationship with Jesus. In fact, your soul depends on it.