Come to me and rest

13 “Speak also to the children of Israel, saying:`Surely My Sabbaths you shall keep, for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am the LORD who sanctifies you. (Exo 31:13)

If I did more, maybe I will be worthy of love. If I accomplished more, maybe I can leave a mark and not go down into the void.

If I worked harder, maybe people would like me more. If I wasn’t so lazy, perhaps I could get my father’s approval. If only I could have a few more hours, a few more moments, a little more strength…

If only I didn’t just spend an extra hour today resting, maybe I could have accomplished something…

It is subtle, but it looks just like the so-called puritan work ethic. Lazy boys starve and are cast away. Stupid boys are beaten and mocked. We’re just a little better than that. Read McGuffey. How will your kids learn Latin if you don’t work harder. That Ezekiel 4:9 bread won’t make itself. If you don’t work harder, your family might have to eat store-bought.

Stay vigilant. Don’t mess up. Don’t slack off. Even on the Lord’s day. God hates idleness. You are supposed to be taking a Sabbath, not slacking off. This is what makes this country great. Hard work, hard men. Let the others slack off. We’ve got work to do.

Don’t miss a trick. Don’t miss an opportunity. Pull up your man-pants and do more, do it harder, do it better. How will you get to college if you don’t get straight A’s. Slackers don’t win and losers don’t need to apply.

Perhaps if you weren’t such a lazy slacker, you could get God to pay attention to you. Perhaps if you weren’t so stupid and slow and good-for-nothing, you would be worthy of love…

 

And to all of these hateful voices, God says, “Stop.

“Take a rest. A Sabbath. You no longer work for the Egyptians. You no longer are a slave to sin. You no longer have to pretend to earn my favor. Child….rest.

“I commanded you to keep my Sabbaths so that you will learn that I the Lord sanctify you.”

I sanctify you…think of those words. Jesus himself pours his water over your head and cleanses you. His blood covers your sins from the sight of God. His righteousness fits your body perfectly. Your body – he made it. He made your mouth, he made your lips. He gave you your words, your speech, your tongue.

He knows that you are dust. This is why you don’t have to work for his favor. He knows you can’t. He carries you. He clothes you. He covers you. It is his pure water that washes all of the filth away.

Just rest, child of God. Just rest. One day in seven.

Silence those voices that tell you that 6 days and 24 hours a day are not enough. He knows you are dust, and need a rest. Buy a loaf of bread and a jar of peanut butter and take a day. No dishes. No cooking. No cleaning. And just rest. Stop.

God gave this day to you, so that you would know that your Father loves you and knows that you are finite, weak, and human. Your bones need rest. You need rest.

Just stop. One day. Not a work that you do to earn God’s favor, but just stop and rest in his love. He sanctifies you.

25 “Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols.
26 “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.
27 “I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.
28 “Then you shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; you shall be My people, and I will be your God. (Eze 36:25-28)

 

This is the Sabbath of God. The Pharisees turned it into a work to do to keep God from killing you. If you do it purely enough, then maybe God will leave you alone.

They missed everything. God gave the Sabbath so that man would know that Jesus is coming. He pours the water. He sheds the blood. He gives the Spirit. He gives rest to the weary soul.

And he gave us very practical instructions. One day in seven, rest. God gives you your daily bread. Your significance is found only in Christ. Your name is already written in the book of life. Your sins are already put away.

You already have God’s approval in Christ. How could you gain more? You already have treasure stored up for you in heaven. How could you gain more.

So rest. Let that email go for today. Let that phone ring for today. This is your day – God has given it to you. It is the Lord’s day, for he has risen from the dead. But he rose from the dead so that you could rest.

Rest, child. Let it go. Put it off. Gather with God’s people. Listen to the Lord grant you grace and peace. Sing praises to him. Pour out your heart to him.

Raise your voice to heaven. Watch the baptismal waters flow and remember that he has cleansed you from all sin.

Taste the bread and drink the wine and remember that his body was broken and his blood shed for you. For you.

So you can rest under his wings.

Rest.

6 Comments

Filed under sabbath, sanctification

6 responses to “Come to me and rest

  1. Janet

    I pick a word for the year, and this year’s word is REST. Thanks, Sam, for your words that are balm to my soul.

  2. I grew up in a church and with parents where “idle hands are the devils workshop”. I was never allowed to “rest” and do nothing. What I did do was never good enough and had to be done over until it was good enough, which didn’t happen. My grades weren’t good enough. I was too quiet. Too much this, too little that.
    When it comes to God, it’s hard to imagine that whatever I am at the moment is “just right”, in the sense that I’m accepted and loved. My parents still say they love me, but I still don’t measure up to their expectations. How can God be bigger and know everything but have lower expectations than people, or my own family? Just all sorts of backwards.

    • I think that was pretty common in our generation. A lot of pounding us with proverbs taken out of context. It’s very damaging. It took me years to learn how to rest, and I still feel guilty for doing it

  3. Pingback: Come to Me and Rest - The Aquila Report

  4. Anu Riley

    I know this sort of dilemma very well. However, it may have been fair to label me as somewhat lazy and lacking ambition—not to mention not “trying hard enough or lacking goals and real direction.”

    Perhaps I already knew I was defeated even before trying? But I also lacked any real confidence, not to mention real talent. I simply could not measure up or keep up, because everyone was already well ahead of me already.

    What fascinates me is the incredibly low premium that tends to put on the female gender, but at the same time they are often saddled with enormous pressures and expectations. So, they are treated and thought of as inferior, but then they are overburdened and overwhelmed.

    The supposed “weaknesses” they inherently have doom them from the start, but then they are pushed into positions where superhuman strength, stability and stamina are required of them.

    These are just my perceptions from my little corner of the world. And this mentality is equally applicable to the male gender as well.

    I saw one of your commentators make an excellent point. Does God really have such “low” expectations of us? Is His love and approval handed out so freely, so generously—-and so unconditionally?

    That’s for another post—what His love does and doesn’t mean! He does love liberally and without limit—-but by no means does it give us any right to abuse such graciousness

    The answer is short but rather wonderful: God is simply not impressed by the things that we, the human race, find impressive.

    He is simply not bowled over by a woman who tries to do everything for everyone else. Works her fingers to the bone. Seems to have unending, endless energy, strength and passion. Never grows weary in doing good and doing right—-and never complains or falters in such “rewarding” work. Never says “no,” dresses right, acts right and lives right.

    A woman like that might impress those around her, but I would suggest that such a woman might deeply concern Him. A woman who constantly neglects herself for the sake of others is not Biblical.

    Yet it’s likely that we would celebrate such a woman and advise all young girls and women to emulate her. He sees everything, but we only get a tiny glimpse—-if even that.

    Yet we so often assume He agrees with us, but we should keep in mind how limited our minds are.

    I’ve picked up on the VERY foolish thinking that if someone doesn’t act like they are in pain, they were obviously not really in pain. Or not in enough pain if they were so good at hiding it.

    The conclusion from that means that we will only believe that someone is worn down, weary and weak—-(they are in need of the kind of rest that only the Lord offers) only if they show it. If they put it on display. They need to convince others that they are exhausted, inside and out—-and need to stop working so hard. They just need to lay down and be loved.

    First of all—you don’t need to prove anything to anyone. There is a good chance that if you DID try to “put it all out there,” you’ll be accused of putting on some sort of act. Or, why did you wait so long? Or, you have no one but yourself to blame for taking on too much.

    Little do they understand that you WERE putting on an act, previously—-and now you are trying to STOP acting like everything is just fine.

    This is again, not how the Lord works. When you finally lower your guard fully before Him and admit you feel buried alive—-there is no backlash, no accusations, no interrogation to face.

    His arms are wide open, long and strong like you can’t imagine—-and best of all—-He doesn’t care what anyone else thinks about you. He knows what you’ve been enduring, He knows everything about you—and He knows exactly what you need.

    You don’t need to be better organized to keep doing all the things you’re doing. You don’t need a more thorough “to do” list. You don’t need more time, more money, more help, more motivation. You need a Savior.

    You need the One who LIVED that perfect life that you could never live or live up to (believe me, you tried!). And He didn’t do it in order to expect His followers to aim for that perfection. While the Bible tells us to be more and more like Him, we are never called to BE Him (sinless, pure and perfect).

    I have had to tell myself that the dream of perfection is a dream that must die. It is a dream that is doomed to fail. It deserves to die, because it is not realistic, nor is it Biblical. In fact, much of that dream is rooted in self-idolatry. The focus is all on what you do for Him, not what He did for you.

    And it also unintentionally might encourage idolatry in those around us. While we should look for Biblical examples around us, we have a nasty habit of putting people on pedestals that they do not deserve, or desire. It has has happened to me, and I did not desire it, nor was I deserving of it. Having passion for Christ is not the same as being perfect in Him. It led to great pain and suffering on my part, and it took years for Him to set me free from it all.

    Pastor, keep writing as you do. I am commenting on your blog because I’d like to see it get more traffic (I’m sure it already does). You have a lot to offer that believers will truly be blessed by.

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