A Word from Your BCC Team: You’re reading Part 2 of a two-part BCC Grace & Truth blog miniseries on Resting in Jesus. You can read Part 1 here.
Rest in Jesus
Our souls need rest, and they find that rest in Jesus. But we need more than rest for our souls. We need real, regular rest for our bodies—and that rest includes rest in the midst of labor and rest from labor.
Rest in Labor
In Matthew 11:28–30, Christ tenderly says to each of us:
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
If you’ve ever watched oxen yoked together, then you know that the yoke is used when there is work to be done, not when the oxen are in their stalls munching on oats. In the same breath that Jesus says He will give rest to all who come to Him, He mentions being harnessed into a yoke. Hmm…God is not like human beings. When God is in charge and you wear His yoke, even work becomes restful.
If you’ve ever had a job you truly loved, then you can understand this. You didn’t have to drag yourself out of bed in the morning because you couldn’t wait to get to your job. And even if your job was challenging, you were invigorated by the opportunities, not drained. If you’ve experienced this, you’ve had a taste of what it’s like to hope in the Lord.
Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not be faint. God gives rest in the midst of labor. Running and walking are physical activities, and soul and body are strengthened when your hope is in the Lord.
Rest from Labor
We would not represent God well if we did not also rest from our labor. When God rested on the seventh day, it was His labors from which He rested. So, while it is possible to rest in our labors, God also established a pattern of resting from our labors.
The Old Testament Sabbath was a day set apart to the Lord, a day in which the normal labor required to sustain life was to stop. Fields were not to be planted, crops were not to be harvested, everyone, including the animals, was to rest and be refreshed.
Planting and harvesting are perhaps the two busiest times of the year for farmers. They spend long days in the field and perhaps it seems obvious they would need rest. However, resting during these seasons requires tremendous trust in God. For example, in harvest when crops are ripe, you generally want to get them in as quickly as possible from the field. You don’t want to risk losing them, as fully mature plants start to degrade in quality and are more likely to attract disease and insects. Additionally, a rain at harvest can be expensive, damaging the crop and increasing the harvest costs. As a farmer you want to make hay while the sun shines.
That being the case, resting on a sunny Sabbath no longer makes intuitive sense. It requires deep trust in God and His sovereign control to rest while the sun shines.
Perhaps you don’t rest because you fear others will believe you are lazy. Living in a culture that values achievement and productivity can easily lead us to the point where we feel guilty enjoying any rest. Yet God gives good things to enjoy. So, to snatch moments of rest, as though you were doing something illegal, is to proclaim to God that He made a mistake in making rest holy. We must properly reflect the Giver in both rest and work, in both body and soul.
Accepting the Invitation to Rest
Consider accepting Christ’s invitation to come to Him and find rest. Rest from the clamoring of your soul. Rest from the stresses of modern living. Rest from the burden of sin. Rest from the fatigue of daily cares.
But those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint. (Isaiah 40:31)
Join the Conversation
Where can you rest in your labor this week? Where should you rest from labor?