The REST of Your Life
If there’s one point I want to get across, it’s that God doesn’t want you to be working through the rest of your life. That means A – He doesn’t want you working straight through until you die. “I’ll rest when I’m dead” is not a Scripture-approved motto. B – He doesn’t want you working through all the periods of rest that He gives you in your life. Some people charge through life, at full pace, half dead, buzzed on coffee, saying to those around them: “I’m doing better than I deserve!” and “I’d rather burn out than rust out.” These people take very little time relating to God or enjoying the company of those around there, but they do follow the two most important commandments: Be productive all the time. And when you aren’t being productive, feel guilty about it. With those two balancing truths, they charge out into life and don’t look back. Ever. The trouble is – those aren’t the two most important commandments, and that’s not the type of life that God wants for us.
While the Pharisees enjoyed their position of authority, dictating to men how to live their lives better and better and better – laying burdens on men and not lifting a finger to ease the load, a new man walked the earth. “Come to me, those who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” That’s what He said, and the Pharisees hated it. Did they hate rest? Well, it’s more complicated than that – not only were they uncomfortable with resting in the Lord themselves, they only didn’t like to see men feeling rest and freedom from the Pharisees guilt-trips – er, that is, their “leadership.” Eventually, they just had to kill Him, which backfired and made it possible for anyone anywhere to enter into His rest for this lifetime (no more striving to be good enough!) and for eternity. One can cast their burdens on the Lord, and never pick them up again; you can live, “casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7). If you are living the Christian life, and Christ’s original invitation (“I will give you rest”) doesn’t match the life you’ve got – then “you’re doing it wrong.”
Let’s take our minds back to the beginning of this world God has put us in. In the beginning, God made the heavens and the earth. In six days, the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Okay, so we have God and the beauty of creation, and this pattern of 6 days of producing followed by one day of rest and noticing that what was produced is good! And then God set up an eternal echo. “Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.” What is an echo? An echo is when a certain set of sound waves is imitated, sometimes more than once, on a smaller scale. God spent 6 days producing, and one day resting. It was magnificent. And we get to be the echo – each week, we get to spend 6 days producing, and one day resting and noticing that what we produced is good. Every week, we have a brand new chance to echo God in this way. Yet, there is a distraction. Sometimes, it’s easy to be a “Martha” instead of a “Mary” in this culture.
God set up the principle of enjoying what you produce. He produced the world, and then He sat back for a day and said that it was GOOD. Fast forward a bit to the end of Proverbs, and we see the same principle spelled out as a blessing:
“Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing,
But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.
Give her of the fruit of her hands,
And let her own works praise her in the gates.”
The blessing upon the worker is the fruit of her hands – let her enjoy what she has produced. And even in taking hold of this blessing, we are pursuing one of our highest callings: the imitation of God. We shout out God’s glory and amplify His works through echoing (imitating) Him. The whole process of sanctification is the path we take to become more and more conformed to the image of Christ.
[For Part 2 of this series, click HERE]