|Even the sun has to rest (National Seashore, January 2012)|
How do I know it's time? Okay, so maybe you don't take as long to learn, but last fall, I looked around at my life and knew I had fallen into the same predictable busyness and over-work that has plagued me. It was hard to get things done around the house because of all I was involved in, and it was even harder to be kind and gracious towards my husband because I was a bit resentful. Let me be quick to say: it was not his fault that I had gotten into all that I was doing, and he probably would have preferred that I do a lot less....but he is wise to let me learn from my mistakes and grow in the process. Gradually, one commitment at a time, it became obvious that I wasn't able to do my best at anything! The teaching became too much work, the home business was a chore and not a delight, and the most important things, my walk with God, and my marriage, were suffering. Do you look around at your life and see things falling apart around you? Do you have little to no energy for the things that are most important? Are you resentful towards God or others for all you are doing? Perhaps it is time for you to reevaluate your choices, and as it was for me, time to reevaluate my (and your) motives.
What God offers....In Matthew, we find some excellent verses to guide our path towards rest. Just this morning we read one together, Matthew 6, 25 “This is why I tell you: Don’t worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Isn’t life more than food and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the sky: They don’t sow or reap or gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you worth more than they? 27 Can any of you add a single cubit to his height by worrying?28 And why do you worry about clothes? Learn how the wildflowers of the field grow: they don’t labor or spin thread. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was adorned like one of these! 30 If that’s how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and thrown into the furnace tomorrow, won’t He do much more for you—you of little faith? 31 So don’t worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ 32 For the idolaters[p] eagerly seek all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you. 34 Therefore don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
In this passage, we can see that much of our activities can be traced to worry....worry what others will think of us, worry about what will happen if we do not 'stay on top' of everything, worry if we are not living the Christ-like life.....and the list goes on. But what would happen if we DID rest? Would everything really fall apart? Would God or others stop loving us? (God will not, and if others do, you may need better friends!) And lastly, is my righteousness a works-righteousness, and not a righteousness based on the free gift of Grace from God given through faith? Another passage I think of is the call to rest in Matthew 11, 28 “Come to Me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.29 All of you, take up My yoke and learn from Me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for yourselves. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Here we see the true heart of God, as he delights to give us rest through his Son. If Christ paid all for us on the cross, what can we really add to His finished work on the cross? That is not to say that our work for God is not important, but what He accomplished on the cross is far greater and more important than anything we can add to that. In fact, we are told that God accomplishes more through our weakness, than through our strength. Isn't it just like God to instruct us in a counter-intuitive way? His thoughts are much higher than our own!
Will you accept? I have to ask myself, as I am faced with this season of rest and how that can be difficult for me, why won't I accept His offer? Is it my pride? My self-sufficiency? A lack of trust that God will care for what I am not called to care for right now? Whatever it is in your case, I pray that you, as well as I, can learn to set aside whatever is hindering us, and accept the call to rest in the arms of the Lord. It could be just what the Great Physician ordered!
Yours in Christian love,