This week’s topic is that we need rest. We probably already know this is a physical and emotional reality, but it may surprise us to know God rests, and says we need it too. In fact, he commands rest in the first book of the Bible after God created the universe.
And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation. (Genesis 2:2-3 ESV)
A few weeks ago, we saw that God worked, and that we were created to work with him. Now we see God rested. We are also created to rest with him…and share that rest with others.
To help, God gave a rhythm for rest and work. Six days of work, and one day of rest. It’s not equal, as work still outweighs rest. But it’s rhythmic and balances our need for creation and recreation.
God’s rest is the model for our rest. What is God’s rest like?
First, He stops creating. Producing, accumulating, moving, operating.
Clearly his work of sustaining continued – the earth kept spinning and the plants keep growing. But his work of creating takes a pause.
Secondly, he was satisfied with his work. It’s finished. Some things are complete, good, and need to ripen.
We can see these kinds of rest in us today – we need to kick our feet up and stop creating, and we also need to rest by enjoying and appreciating things like nature, art, music and more.
We’ll look in future weeks at how that looks in our context. But we won’t be suggesting this is about a particular day or practice that creates God’s favour and blessing in our lives. It’s about God having created us, knowing what we need, and giving it to us as a gift, if only we’d take it.
Question: What kind of creating do you do? It’s not just artists – people create order, learning, art, ideas, value, research, roads, buildings and more. What do you create?
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We’re going to take a quick look at a passage from the Sermon on the Mount today, that we actually explored several weeks ago as part of that series. You can find it here: http://bit.ly/14LRCtP
Matthew 6:28-34 ESV says:
And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
Jesus uses a good analogy – beautiful flowers are clothed in God-given beauty. But our human tendency is to see beauty as the product of our own hard work – we need to toil and spin if we want to be beautiful. We have invented entire industries of fashion, consmetics, pharmaceuticals devoted to helping us work for our beauty.
We regularly delude ourselves into thinking it’s all about us, from our beauty to our purpose in this world, and that can make it very hard to rest.
It’s so easy to feel guilty – I didn’t do as much as I should have last week, I forgot this, or I am so not ready for Monday. We always think we should be doing more. It can be particularly hard for entrepreneurs – every sale makes or breaks the company, every contact could be a sale.
So we stay up at night, or check our phone constantly, or just have our mind on work when it could be resting.
True rest means finding ways to put that kind of worry and guilt aside. Tomorrow, we’ll look at one more inner change that helps., then next week we’ll look at some practical hints, but for many this looks like prayer, some kind of different activity, and turning the phone off.
Question: What do you tend to worry about when you’re resting? Do you feel guilty about resting, or taking vacation?
Just in time for summer's blend of work and rest, Redeem the Commute is starting a new series of daily challenges to help busy people restore life to the commuting lifestyle. This seven week series will look at the meaning and purpose of work, rest, and ancient practices that have helped followers of Jesus to keep the two in perspective and balance for centuries.