Today… Rest Day
It’s Sunday morning. I awake after a solid nights rest ready for savoring the day that is today. But a few short hours from now we will gather in our church to worship and praise God, as we do every Sunday, a day that we refer to as God’s Day of Rest.
Let’s focus in on rest and why it isn’t really restricted to specific days, our worship, and why Sunday isn’t a day to harbor rest but to celebrate it.
Yesterday was our church’s Fall Festival. This was our 4th annual festival which we opted as an alternative to a Holloween celebration, to disconnect from some of the dark aspects of the holiday and focus in on a more positive Christ-centered celebration for the season.
For our small church, the effort is massive and exhausting. However, the rewards are awesome beyond measure. It is a phenomenal outreach to the community, and an opportunity to profess Christ’s love and the inclusiveness of His Church.
You might measure success for such an endeavor by numbers but that would be wrong, instead a church’s outreach, regardless of what it is, must be measured in impact, not on quantity.
There is another measure that I think we can apply to our service to Jesus and others, ‘rest’.
“Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take up my yoke and learn from me, because I am lowly and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Matthew 11:28-30 (CSB)
After the equipment is put away, and we step back from things, there is a peace and rest that comes to us as a result of doing things that serve God and others.
Today, I might choose to attribute this to the fact that we emptied ourselves in yesterdays effort to reach out to the community. But why that exertion did result in deeper and more focused rest, it’s not what really tells the story of the rest we get as a reward for service.
Jesus said, “Take up my yoke and learn from me, because I am lowly and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” That is a measure we can use every day, just as long as we choose to be in His service.
It was the case for the rest that came as a result of the Fall Festival, it is the case for the satisfaction and joy we garner by helping others, and it is focused joy and abiding peace that comes from really worshiping our Lord and Master.
“Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” He does so consistently and fully.
Some refer to it as the Sabbath, but it really isn’t in terms of the old testament declaration for the Sabbath Day. Most Christians celebrate Sunday in commemoration of the day of the week that Christ Jesus put a seal on our resurrection to new life through His own victory over Sin and Death.
It is also for this reason referred to as ‘The Lord’s Day’. The day set aside for us to specifically acknowledge Jesus for who He is, us as who we are, focusing our praise and worship along with the gathering of our local church together to fellowship in this acknowledgment.
Maybe you haven’t thought of it in that way, but it is appropriate.
The thing is, every single day we draw breath is cause for worship, service, and rest.
For worship – because Christ lives in us! Our fellowship with Him is not limited to a day or a place. It is entirely appropriate to worship Him constantly with our praise and our devotion. Sunday we do this collectively as a church body, but this doesn’t preclude the need and opportunity to worship anytime.
For service – because it is who we are, and what we should be doing.
It must not be like that among you. On the contrary, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Matthew 20:26-28 (CSB)
Jesus came to be our servant. He served us in such a way that we can never exceed His level of offering to us. But He also desires that we take His service as a demonstration of our own need to be servants as well.
This translates into becoming His Disciples and following Him.
If anyone serves me, he must follow me. Where I am, there my servant also will be. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.
John 12:26 (CSB)
For Rest – Some consider living their lives as a follower of Christ to be laborious and difficult. I will admit that often there are struggles placed before us that would appear to block us with such a massive requirement of our energies that it does seem laborious.
But when we feel such burdens, it is not something God has placed on us. It’s much more likely that we have burdened ourselves with it. Remember, “my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
If our service to Jesus becomes an overwhelming load then there is a good chance that our weariness isn’t attributable to Jesus and the burden He calls us to bear.
Let us not get tired of doing good, for we will reap at the proper time if we don’t give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us work for the good of all, especially for those who belong to the household of faith.
Galatians 6:9-10 (CSB)
Paul didn’t throw this out to the Galatians on a whim. Paul of all people knew what service to Jesus entailed. He also had a solid understanding of the rest accompanied by that service as well.
“Let us not get tired of doing good”, why? Because “my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Take up this “opportunity” to “work for the good of all, especially for those who belong to the household of faith.“, serve. Why? “Take up my yoke and learn from me, because I am lowly and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
Today… Rest Day
Yes, today is ‘rest day’. It is also ‘worship day’, as our fellowship with Christ Jesus isn’t confined to a single day, event, or hour. It’s also ‘service day’ because if we are to follow Christ, we will serve, it is just that simple.
Sunday is the Lord’s Day, gather with your local body of Christ today as it is important that we not neglect the assembly of ourselves together, and acknowledge God’s clear message after taking six days to create all things, He took the seventh to rest.
Do you really think God ‘needed’ a rest? No, He is timeless, unlimited in power, and He certainly didn’t ‘need’ a rest. He did that so that we might understand our need to regenerate and abide in the rest He has given us.
Just remember that every day is ‘God’s Day’.
This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Psalms 118:24 (CSB)