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?

Ryan Sim - September 8, 2015

Tuesday - Study It - Structured Rest

Work and Rest

We have talked a lot about the need for rest...the main way we see that spoken of in the Bible is Sabbath rest - one day in seven, one year in seven. In Judaism, this was very structured and supported by cultural and societal norms. Jesus' approach seemed to be to peel away the layers of societal and cultural norms, all the rules that had been developed over the years, and simply return to the God-given command to rest on the seventh day. This was his usual routine - where humans focus on actions, in hopes that it will change hearts, Jesus wants to focus in on the heart. Jesus wants to mold hearts to want to know and follow him, and where that then transforms their actions. This makes taking Sabbath rest both easier and harder. It’s harder, because just blindly following rules isn't all that hard, especially when everyone else in society follows them as well. It’s easier because of the freedom we explored last week...freedom from slavery to rules, replaced by a new kind of obedience, to a person rather than a code. Jesus gives rest from enforced rest – he gives true rest. We can see it in how Jesus handled the crushing demands of his own work: Mark 6:30-32 ESV The apostles returned to Jesus and told him all that they had done and taught. And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. And they went away in the boat to a desolate place by themselves.” He took rest when he needed it, we have several examples of unstructured rest that he took "regularly". When I found I’d been sitting too long at an office job, I used to go for a walk around the block from my office. I called it my sanity walk. Or at other times, I would just get up and do something different. Working from home, I might empty the dishwasher, then get back to my computer refreshed from the change of pace. We also see Jesus taking weekly rest. “He went to synagogue to worship on the seventh day. When he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, as was his custom.” It was Jesus’ “custom” to take weekly Sabbath rest according to the rules of his father in heaven, and not according to the rules of the Pharisees. We also see Jesus living with an annual rhythm. He celebrated the annual feasts – we see him attending Passover in Jerusalem, for example. As he travelled to and from various religious festivals, there are ebbs and flows in his energy and work – the big moments in his ministry regularly coincide with major festivals. Sometimes he is in small towns, sometimes in the city. There were intense times and places and low times and places in his culture...and his ministry needed both. The Bible also commands a year of rest after six years of work - not to lay around, but let the land lie fallow and improve, and let slaves and debts go free. There was also a command that every 50 years, a complete reset and leveling of the playing field should occur. Unfortunately there is no evidence they ever listened to and observed these. Let’s not let the same thing happen to us! Question: What rest can you plan for today? This week? This year? Now dream a little bit - what could a "reset" year look like this decade? What about for the whole of your life?

From Series: "Work and Rest"

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.


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