Recently, I have been meditating on what it means to rest. There is often so much to do, there is so much to keep ourselves busy. If you are a regular viewer of our channel you will know that much change has happened in our lives recently.
Now change can be a good thing, but change can also distract us. These distractions compete for our attention, they cause us to become busy and we lose our rest. So it has been good for me to refocus on the topic of rest, and I would just like to share some of my thoughts with you, and to remind you that true rest is a gift, and not something that we can earn.
Understanding this, and putting it into practice, is a process that I am currently going through.
In our fast-paced society, it can be challenging to allow ourselves the time to rest. We often feel as though we need to constantly strive for success, to maintain relationships, and to progress in our careers. And that this striving will lead us to rest.
Rest is something that we all desire, and it is easy to fall into the trap of believing that we will only enter into rest when we have earned it. Maybe you are stressed by your job and you think that rest will only come once you have moved on, or retired. Or you are in a dysfunctional relationship and believe that rest will only come when you have worked yourself to the bone in order to restore it.
This mindset, that rest is something which must be earned, is unhelpful when it comes to understanding the true meaning of rest.
The Biblical view of rest is vastly different to our modern view, so let us pause for a moment and consider rest from a different perspective.
Leviticus 23:3 states that God says,
“Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest,”
here we see the rhythm of the Sabbath: six days of work followed by a day of rest.
Now you may think, as I have, here you go… I must work hard for six days in order to earn my rest on the seventh.
But if we go back to the beginning of time, we see that God created the world in six days and rested on the seventh.
On the first day, God created light, followed by plants on the third day, birds and whales on the fifth day, and humans on the sixth day.
Now think about this. If God created humans on the sixth day, then Adam and Eve’s first full day on earth, the seventh day, was a day of rest. Even before they tilled the ground, before they were fruitful and exercised dominion over the earth, before they did any work God gave them a day of rest.
This gives us a glimpse into the gospel message. Sabbath rest is not what we earn after we’ve done lots of work or after we’ve exhausted ourselves mentally and physically.
We don’t earn rest; we receive it. The Sabbath rest is a gift that comes from God, a weekly reminder that we rest because of the work that He has already done.
So how do we make this a part of our daily lives?
We don’t find rest by attempting to do more.
In Matthew 11:28-29 Jesus tells us
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, 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.”
We make Sabbath rest a reality in our daily lives when we respond to Jesus’ call to come to Him.
Our ultimate Sabbath, the manifestation of the Kingdom in all its fullness, will not come by us doing more in an attempt to patch up and fix our broken world. This will only lead to burnout, physical, mental and spiritual exhaustion.
Instead, we find rest by entering into a close relationship with our Creator, taking His yoke upon us, and learning from Him.
When we take the time to commune with Him through prayer, when we study His Word, and actively listen to His voice, He will give us true rest and peace, and strengthen us as we walk the path He sets out for us. And by doing so, we will shine His light and love, bringing hope to those around us and drawing them closer to Him. This is how rest comes into our world, not through our distracted busyness.
This is the gift of Sabbath rest, and it’s waiting for each and every one of us.