Hebrews 4:9-11 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, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience.
This passage first caught my attention a long time ago because of the seeming contradiction in it. How can we labor/work/make every effort to enter rest? Isn’t resting just stopping work? However, resting isn’t quite that simple. I think everyone experiences bringing work home, that is, thinking and worrying about work tasks even when you’re not there. What this is talking about is releasing things fully to God so that you don’t carry them in your heart and mind, and that isn’t so easy. As the writer talks about from verse 3:12 on, it’s a matter of faith. We have to really trust God to accept His rest! We love to be able to take credit for what we do, and this is saying, “Jesus, You’re right. I can do nothing apart from You. (John 15:5) I’m going to quit trying to control things and let You be Lord.” The release and liberty we experience when we get to this place can be had no other way.
I have flashes of this, but I’m sorry to say I’m not there fully yet. I try to do things on my own all too often, when logically I would have learned that lesson a long time ago! Yesterday Ray Sidney ministered in our church, and his testimony of how he ended up in his current far-flung international ministry was very pointed and moving. His central theme was that when God speaks to us, we simply need to say yes. (That’s the title I put on the recording I posted to the church Youtube and Facebook pages, accessible at http://www.shinsei.org.) He is constantly on the move, so he has had to learn to find his rest in the Lord. He included a particular challenge that struck home to Cathy and me, pointing out that Abraham didn’t start out on his grand adventure with God until he was 75. Cathy and I have both passed 70, so this was a strong reminder that the Lord isn’t finished with us. I need to listen accurately and obey fully, laboring to tune out all the distractions so that my own flailing around won’t get in the way of what God wants to do through me. The better I rest in Him, the more He will accomplish through me.
Father, thank You for this reminder, and for all You did yesterday. I pray that You would enable me to be consistent in my resting, not running from anything You say to do but not going off on my own either, so that Your kingdom may come on Your schedule, whatever part I do or don’t have in it, for Your glory alone. Thank You. Praise God!