October 26, 2007 - Do Your Best to Rest


Do Your Best to Rest
By Jon Walker

“…There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God's rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest ….” (Hebrews 4:8b-11 NIV)

Most of us think of the Sabbath as a day of rest, originating from the day of rest God took after he created the universe, as recorded in Genesis. And that view is correct; that is the basis for us taking a Sabbath, a day of rest, within our own week.

Yet there is a larger sense of God’s Sabbath: an invitation to rest in God’s healing grace, trusting in his power and his purpose for your life. We rest in our Father’s arms, knowing he goes before and he goes behind, knowing that his plans for us are good and not evil (Jeremiah 29:11).

We enter this “let go and let God” rest through faith, where we cease to work and live independent of God (“… anyone who enters God's rest also rests from his own work …”). Instead, we’re to focus our efforts toward entering this Sabbath-trust in God, a restful certainty that God’s got a handle on it all, and that he’s got our best interests in mind.

If I recall correctly, Ian Thomas illustrates this point by telling the story of a man walking down a dusty rural road on a hot, humid day. The man is loaded down with a heavy backpack and carries a duffle bag in each hand. A pick-up truck comes along, and the driver offers the walking man a ride, telling him to hop in the back.

The driver heads down the road, but when he looks in the rear-view mirror he sees that his new passenger is standing in the bed of the truck – still holding both duffle bags, still wearing the over-packed backpack on his back.

The thing is: We stand in the truck of faith, still carrying our burdens, thinking they are independent of the ride we’re taking. Perhaps we think God can carry us, but not our burdens, that we have to keep bearing them ourselves.

What now?

· Rest in God – Rest in God’s power and grace, and work toward confidence (faith) that he is looking out for your best interests. “I believe; Lord, help my unbelief.”

· Rest requires dependence – If you’re working independently of God, then you’re not at rest in God. Possible signs that you’re working independently: worry, a need to control, a crammed-full schedule.

· Our Father’s heart encourages rest – Next time you feel overwhelmed by life, settle in a chair and “be still and know that he is God.” Give him your burdens – your backpack and your duffels.

· Faith leads to rest – Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?” Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.” (John 6:28-29 NIV)

© 2007 Jon Walker. All rights reserved.