Hebrews 4:8–11; Matt 11:7–8
This week our theme is centered around how Jesus reveals the Sabbath. Around this time in Summer Training Project, everyone becomes very, very tired and is in need of rest. I had always thought of rest as something achieved when we have stopped doing everything and have come to a physical and mental peace. When you are free of distractions, responsibilities, getting enough sleep (impossible for Madee Meidt), and the traditional busyness of life, that is what I thought true rest was. I thought it impossible with the busyness of a college student and would strive for that half hour in the morning of “rest” before classes began where I could listen to music, journal, and read the good word. That was what I defined as rest. As I would read about resting in Matthew 11, “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,” I always thought it swarmed around the topic of anxiety about my future or a fast approaching exam. I need to slow down, spend more time with the Lord, and live in the moment. This idea of rest the Lord provides is not complete at all, but missing the larger point.
Hebrews 4:9-11 says “So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his.”
We are given the ability to rest! We can have an eternal Sabbath rest in Christ alone. Not just a half hour each morning or a few hours on Sunday, but eternally we can rest assured that our hope and salvation is in Jesus Christ and it is finished. We no longer have to work or strive to gain God’s approval as once was necessary as it talks about earlier in Hebrews 4. Before Christ, sacrifices were required to gain the approval and the satisfaction of God. In Christ, the amount of times we read our Bible, pray, go to church, and share the gospel has no weight on the way God sees us. What it does change, is the way we see God.
Along with rest, we’ve also been learning about work. How work is a very good thing and what we were created to do (Genesis 1:27–28). There is a reason we feel great after having a productive day, even though it may have been chalk full. I have very unexpectedly LOVED working at Walmart this summer. I have so enjoyed my coworkers, helping customers, getting paid, and working hard. I spend my days stocking grocery shelves full of coffee, peanut butter, and ketchup all while being asked where the tuna fish is located (aisle 6). Not the most glamorous work, but I do find enjoyment in it. I enjoy working. So when I heard about work being a good thing and productivity being valuable, it challenged my idea of rest. How can I rest while I work 40 hours a week, attend talks, group dates, and one-on-ones throughout the week and am expected to still find time to rest. There is no time for naps, but fighting to remind myself that my salvation is secure in the Lord, Jesus is advocating for me, strengthening me, and loving me perfectly is my rest. Some of my most restful times have been found sobbing on the balcony outside of my room, remembering the faithfulness of the Lord, not necessarily in my quiet time before Walmart in the morning.
Find your rest in the Savior of your soul, not in your physical resting or how put-together your life may seem. The Lord completely satisfies and he alone will satisfy your restless soul.