What does rest look like? We need look no further than the Bible. I should note there is clearly a distinction between resting and laziness. The author of Proverbs writes negatively about the person who is lazy and does not work. In fact the Bible never talks positively about laziness. Laziness and rest are clearly two opposing ideas. In the Psalms rest is synonymous to being still or waiting.
Psalm 46:10 is one of my favorite passages and I think it is one of the best passages that defines rest. “Be still and know that I am God.” The words “be still” means to cease or stop… Stop those things causing you burden… worry, work, frustration, anxiety, planning etc… stop and trust God. This could be defined as peace of mind. Rest, have your mind at ease because God is in control. Unfortunately for many of us this is easier said than done.
Psalm 37:7 – “Be still before the Lord and wait…” Stop! Wait! Do not fret (worry).
In Luke 10:38 – 42 I would like to introduce you to the sisters Mary and Martha. These sisters had invited Jesus over to their home. When Jesus came Mary sat at his feet and listened to the words Jesus had to say. She was literally resting at the feet of God and basking in His presence. Martha her sister on the other hand was running around the house like a chicken with her head cut off, making sure the house was clean, cooking the meal, setting the table kind of acting like some of you when preparing for Thanksgiving. You know the scenario all the dads are sitting in the living room watching football and all the moms in the kitchen cooking the meal (Which I am grateful for every year). Eventually Martha had had enough. She approaches Jesus and says in so many words, “Jesus, can’t you see I am killing myself trying to get things ready and my sister, the bum, is just sitting at your feet doing nothing. Could you please tell her to come help me?” She thought that maybe Jesus could convince her sister to help around the house a bit. Do you know what Jesus’ response was? I can assure you it wasn’t what Martha wanted to hear… Luke 10:41, 42: “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, 42 but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” He was basically saying, stop being a busy body Martha, your sister has chosen what important, spending time with me, and I will not take that away from her. Life is too short to be concerned with the little things of this world. Spend your time on things that really matter.” Now get this. Jesus was not saying Martha was wrong, he was just letting her know at this very moment of time I am (God himself) here with you so rest. We’ll get to the other things (the meal) later, right now… Stop. Wait. Rest in the Lord.
Matthew 11:28 – 30: This is probably one of the most well known passages that deal with rest. Jesus tells his listeners that true rest comes from him. If you are weary, tired, stressed, exhausted, and overwhelmed with life come to Jesus and in him we will find rest. We are told to put our burdens on him and when we do our souls will find rest. This is a promise for future rest and a promise for rest today.
Many of you are stressed, overworked, burdened and full of work related anxiety. Your mind is racing, your heart (spiritual and even physical) is heavy and unhealthy, and you have a hard time ceasing from work activity. You may be thinking right now, “I wish he would hurry up and conclude because I have a ton of things I have to do today.” Stop. Wait. Rest in Lord.
Jeff has been in ministry for well over two decades. He currently serves as Campus Pastor at West Bradenton Baptist Southside Campus in Bradenton, Florida.
Jeff Has authored an Advent Devotional (The Advent of Jesus) and a devotional on the book of James (James: Where Faith and Life Meet). Both are available on Amazon.
He is married to Carrie and they have four children, Micaiah, Gabe, Simon, and Berea.
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