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When Rest Really Isn’t Rest
By Dr. Skip Myers
web posted May 7, 2007
COLUMN – The word “I” is the most used word in the English language. That tells us something about the nature of our conversations and interests. But what is the most used phrase in the English language? You would hope it would be something like “I love you” or “Thank you very much.” Let me submit one that could very well be on its way to becoming one of the most use phrases in the English language—“I’m tired.”
Everyone seems to be tired these days. The schedules we keep and the expectations of the roles we fill do nothing but increase whereby demanding more of our time. The hours in an average work week have increased and what it means to be an involved family continues to expand. Even those who are retired will tell you their days are full. Health and family issues keep them constantly running to the point one retired man told me he was going back to work just to get some rest.
Rest—now that’s a wonderful thing the Lord has given us the ability to experience. And yet, it is one of the most spiritually misunderstood realities in the church today. How we seek our rest says a lot about who we are as believers. Now read this next sentence very carefully. Everyone needs a vacation, some time away, and a change of scenery. I am not one of these preachers who think you should eternally keep your nose to the grindstone and your shoulder to the wheel.
But just how effective is the way we seek to gain rest? The Bible tells us that on the seventh day of creation God rested. Now does an eternally powerful God need rest? No, but look at the example He set for us to follow. We are to keep a day set aside for communion with Him. The seventh day became a day of worship; a day where we could experience true rest and recuperation from the pressures of life by focusing our time and lives upon Him.
Jesus echoed this in the New Testament with these words found in Matthew 11:28-30: Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. For My yoke is easy and my burden light.
There it is--the definition and prescription for rest given to us by the Lord Himself. If we want to rest we have to come to Him. That’s why He set a day aside for us to spend time in worship and praise. He knew if the soul was refreshed the body and the mind would experience it as well. Coming to Him makes rest possible because we find solutions and possibilities beyond what we can create. We find a point of order to life. We find a way to know what is truly important and what has the right to demand our time. We find a release from the internal pressures by experiencing the peace of God that goes beyond understanding. We find strength to not only endure life but to make sense of it and conquer it as well. We find a love that cannot be taken from us by any situation we face.
A much needed vacation can be found on the beautiful sands of any beach but if we are truly going to find rest it is given to us as we come to the Lord. If church is nothing but another day of work then change what you are doing in church. Serving the Lord increases our energy—it never drains. Staying in bed on Sunday morning may give you another few hours of sleep but becoming involved in worship can refresh your very soul and prepare you for the unknowns of the next week. Let’s all get up and find some rest this Sunday in His House. I’ll see you there.
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