2012: A Year of Thanksgiving and Praise
Day 7: I'm Thankful for Rest
"For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works."
~ Heb 4:4
I think God knew what he was doing. He worked for six days, and then rested on the seventh day. Today, on the seventh day of the new year, I'm thankful for rest.
It has been a busy week, and while I would never presume to compare myself to God, or say that my work in any way, shape or form is equal to His work, I was grateful for a day of rest today. It was a short week, since Monday was a holiday, but I still managed to work 51 hours.
Add to that the lack of sleep last night, and I was a little tired today. After I got back from town this afternoon and had some lunch, I sat down to rest for just a moment... and work up at 9:00 pm.
I rarely take naps. Usually I feel more tired when I wake up than I did before the nap. But, every now and then my body insists. Today was one of those days.
So, I got to thinking about rest. The word "rest" appears in the Bible 275 times. Most of these entries are not the kind of "rest" I'm talking about, but rather have the meaning of "remainder" as in "the rest of..."
Of the other entries, there are several different meanings of the word "rest". The rest used for the Sabbath day rest, is a word that means to settle down, to colonize, to cease, to be quiet, to remain, to let alone, to withdraw.
So, we can physically rest, settle down and cease to work. We can rest our bodies through sleep and relaxation. Most of us look at rest as a means of recuperating so that we can go back to the same old routine.
We rest on the weekend, or spend time in recreation, so that on Monday morning we can go back to our same old Monday through Friday routine the following week.
There has to be more to life than that.
And there is.
There is a better rest.
During this first month of the year, I'm reading the book of Matthew. In Chapter 11, Jesus talks about rest.
"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls."
This is the Greek word anapausis, which means intermission or recreation.
What a powerful word that is!
I see this word as a combination of the two different meanings of rest. First, he invites us to come to him when we are overworked and heavy laden with our burdens.
We are told to "cast our cares" on him.
"Cast your burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain you: he shall never permit the righteous to be moved."
~ Psalm 55:22
"Casting all your care upon him; for he cares for you."
~ 1 Peter 5:7
One problem that many of us have is actually casting those cares, releasing them and letting them go. This is where the first rest comes in. Remember, it means to cease, to let alone, and to withdraw.
Too many of us take our burdens to God in prayer and then pick them back up again instead of leaving them at His feet.
Why do we do that?
What happens when instead we leave them there at the feet of Jesus. We leave all of our cares, our sorrows, our worries, our labor for the week... What if we cast them on him and then withdraw our attention from them and instead focus on him and on his promises.
I think this is when we experience the second rest; that recreation. As long as we insist on picking up those same old burdens and carrying them around as though somehow being a martyr makes us more worthy or more holy, we will never experience that second rest.
He wants to recreate us. He wants us to become new creatures in him. He wants us to be completely refreshed and invigorated; recreated and able to create our lives and our experiences anew.
This is the rest we seek. This is the rest that only he can give.
Today, I'm thankful for rest.