July 18, 2011

The Gift of Rest

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  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.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

I feel like I haven’t stopped this summer!  Between travel, a hectic work schedule, and extracurricular commitments (using the word extracurricular makes me feel young) I have left little time to relax, reflect and recharge.  Sunday’s sermon was on Matthew 11 and the timing could not have been better.  I was working on projects right up until I left for Grace Downtown Sunday evening and admittedly feeling tired as I walked into the service.  Kern and I sat in our pew and as I sang, I gradually began to relax and let my mind focus on JESUS instead of my to-do list.

What drives you to not rest?  I tell myself that I simply do not have the time to rest—I must prove myself by accomplishing a certain amount of tasks in a limited amount of time.  Of course, this is not usually a process I come to consciously—I just keep going!  The rest that Jesus is offering is a gift.  It is not vacation days from work (something we must earn) but a FREE GIFT!  So how do you receive this gift?

Consider this excerpt from July 17thJesus Calling:

Come away with me for a while.  The world, with its nonstop demands, can be put on hold.  Most people put Me on hold, rationalizing that someday they will find time to focus on Me.  But the longer people push Me into the background of their lives, the harder it is for them to find me.

You live among people who glorify busyness; they have made time a tyrant that controls their lives.  Even those who know Me as Savior tend to march to the tempo of the world.  They have bought into the illusion that more is always better: more meetings, more programs, more activity.

I have called you to follow Me on a solitary path, making time alone with Me your highest priority and deepest Joy.  It is a pathway largely unappreciated and often despised.  However, you have chosen the better thing, which will never be taken away from you.  Moreover, as you walk close to Me, I can bless others through you.”

The key the receiving the gift is spending time with Jesus.  You must make an effort—just like you would in any relationship—to get to know him.  Unlike our earthly relationships can be sometimes, spending time with Jesus will rejuvenate you…and (bonus) enable you to be a more loving friend, spouse or coworker. 

Consider re-working your daily and weekly schedule to allow more time with Jesus.  I challenge you to receive the gift of his presence without feeling guilty for “neglecting” other areas of your life. 

Jesus I am resting, resting
In the Joy of what Thou art;
I am finding out the greatness
Of Thy loving heart.
Thou hast bid me gaze upon Thee,
And Thy beauty fills my soul,
For by Thy transforming power
Thou hast made me whole.

- Jean Sophia Pigott, 1876

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