Hey there Cove Church, Pastor Aaron here, wanting to come your way with a quick word about rest. I mentioned recently in my message about Paula and myself going on sabbatical in a few weeks. So that subject obviously has been on my mind, what it means to rest, the importance of rest, how God has built this cycle into us of these rhythms of sabbath and sabbatical and rest. If you want to know more about the sabbatical we are taking, you can look back at this message.
Regarding rest, everything in our world needs rest. Obviously, we need it as people. We sleep everyday, hopefully. But when you think of even other things - bowling pins need rest. I don't know if you knew that, but they rotate out bowling pins and if they rest them they find that they respond better to the bowling ball.
Steaks need rest. After you cook a steak and it's on the grill, it's gotta rest there for a little while so all the juices don't run out when you cut into it.
Shoes need rest! They’ve found that if you rotate between two pairs of shoes, not only will those shoes last twice as long, they'll last much, much longer than that because of that rest period in between where the material is able to get back to what it's supposed to be doing. The Bible talks about leaving areas of ground fallow, letting them rest in order to rejuvenate before replanting them.
So this idea of rest is throughout creation, and yet certainly as a culture we struggle with rest, don't we? I think we hear that and go “yeah yeah, obviously we need rest!” and then we just get right back to work. So I was thinking about “How do you rest?” and I was brought to this passage in Matthew 11, verse 28: “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 think some of the ways we can be confused when it comes to how to actually go about resting, is we can get caught up in thinking that rest is about a place. It's not, it's about a person. Rest is not found just in a place, it's found in a person. It's found in the person of Jesus. We can get caught up thinking, “Well it's just about if I could just stop working and end up in that Caribbean beach or that mountain cabin or that couch with the remote control...” wherever you find rest, that it's just about getting to that place. But this passage is telling us that it's not just about stopping working and ending up in some place, it's about when we stop working that we now move towards a person, towards Jesus. That by laying down my burden, I do that as the first step, but then the next thing is to pick up the yoke of Jesus. That's the most important part. Rest is not found in a place, it's found in a person.
So when we rest, it's not just about what we stop doing, it's about what we start doing. It's not just that I've stopped working, stopped going to the office, stopped doing the 9 to 5, stopped getting on that tractor, whatever it is that we do. It's that we start doing something different with the rest of God. We start abiding, we start in His presence, we start getting closer to Jesus, and to the people He's called us to.
That is the easy yoke that Jesus invites us to. It's a different yoke. It's not just moving from work to no work, it's moving from this work to a different kind of work. That is the rest that Jesus calls us to, this abiding rest in Him. Where we lay down the heavy burdens and we pick up His yoke that is easy and his burden that is light.
I hope that you get to do that in this season. No matter where you're at regarding your work life, in your schedule, in your pace, that we can stop and take all these burdens, these things that are weighing on us, and that we can lay them down. Then we could pick up this yoke that is easy, this burden that is light from Jesus, that we would draw close to Him. Because Jesus is ultimately the One who gives us rest.