Sabbath: Living From Rest
It’s late April, which means where I live classes are winding down at the local university, businesses are gearing up for their Spring and Summer promotions and families are making final preparations for their summer get-a-ways. Everyone’s trying to wrap up what remains of their winter projects, while getting a head start on summer responsibilities and vacations.
The tasks are piling up and time is running short. This is the time of year when you grit your teeth, dig down deep and hang on for the weekend. With so much going on it’s easy to get overworked and under-rested.
When times are busy like this most of us try to live to rest. We tell ourselves that we can rest only after we’ve completed our school projects and work assignments. We say things like, “If only I can complete _____, then I can rest,” “I’m too busy to take a break right now,” or “I’ve got so much to do I’m not even sure I’ll get a day off this week.”
Then, after working ourselves to the point of exhaustion, we self-medicate with our favorite junk food in front of the television for 2 hours every night and call that “rest.” The result? We’re overworked, under-rested and in danger of burnout.
There’s a better way. Genesis indicates that God created the heavens, the earth and every living thing in six days and on the seventh day he rested. Interestingly, though, he created Adam and Eve on the sixth day. This means that the Sabbath, or “day of rest,” was God’s last day of creation, but man’s first day of existence. Stated plainly, God created us to live from rest, not to rest.
Rest is a Person
Furthermore, in Matthew 11 Jesus invites his hearers to come find rest for their souls. He’s speaking to a group of people who have been told their whole lives that they must earn God’s approval by what they do. Christ must know that his listeners are weary from constantly trying to live up to impossible religious standards, so he invites them to stop relying on their own religious works and to rest instead in his finished work.
In other words, rest is not just in a day, it’s in a Person, Jesus Christ. We’re not only to live from rest, we’re to live from rest in Christ. As Tullian Tchividjian says in his book One Way Love, “because Jesus paid it all, we are free from the need to do it all.” Practically, this means we can take a break from our work and enjoy Jesus’ finished work.
Jesus has secured everything you need before the Father. The work is finished. There’s nothing left for you to do. He is ruling all things with your best interest in mind and he doesn’t need your help. Take a break and find your rest in the Lord. In other words, rest before you work so that you can be productive in your work. You know you need to!