What A Difference A Day Makes
Pastor Adam Mallett, Jr.
Adapted from sermon by
Pastor Gary DarDar, Jr.
Moving into chapter two of Genesis, we begin to discuss an important topic that I think is often ignored or misunderstood. Rest is a very important thing for us! Both physically and spiritually, we are designed to need rest. God set that example for us when He set aside the Sabbath day as a holy day of rest, and Jesus set that example as well during His life here on earth every time He went into the Garden of Gethsemane to pray and rest in the presence of His Heavenly Father. Rest is important! Different people find different things relaxing and rejuvenating, but it is important for us to remember that real rest is only found in Christ. However you rest, learn how to rest in Christ.
I think the many people ignore their need for rest. We get so busy with life, and we hustle to accomplish everything that is on our agenda, but we often burn out before we accomplish it all. There is too much to do! The problem is that we create our own agenda, thereby overloading ourselves with more than we were made to accomplish. Whatever the case, burning out is never a good thing. Whenever I think of burning out, I think of two things: a rockstar who is chasing their dream of fame and influence, and a pastor who is too prideful to realize that he is not the second savior. Neither is good. I listen to a lot of older music, and I have noticed one thing about the still-living musicians that I enjoy to listen to. They don’t tour a whole lot! For instance, I would love to see Eric Clapton live, but his shows are few and far between! The opportunity for me to see him live just isn’t there! Why would he only do shows here and there? Because he has come to understand that he needs rest. He is old, he is tired, and he wont be able to continue enjoying music if he burns out! Christians, it is the same for us! We cannot ignore rest!
I also think that many people misunderstand exactly what rest is. Maybe you go on vacations and have weekends off and habitually relax, but you still don’t feel rested. Maybe you have retired, yet still feel as though rest is impossible. Rest, in the sense of the Sabbath, is not idleness! Pastor Gary taught us a lot about rest this Sunday, and we would do well to put into practice what he taught, but don’t misunderstand him. Rest is not idleness for the sake of idleness. God has given us His agenda to carry out, and we don’t know when He is going to clock us out of this eternally imperative job! This topic is what I would like to write about today, in the hope that we can gain a better understanding of how to find rest in Christ, rather than wasting time in idleness, only to find ourselves still exhausted and burnt out.
As you read, use your imagination and visualize this picture that I am trying to paint of a server at a restaurant. This idea of rest immediately calls to mind a waiter or waitress tending tables and trying to provide for their financial needs. Disclaimer: I have never been a server. If I’m way off, let me know! But I’m pretty sure I have the gist of it, so lets learn what rest really is!
God’s Word tells us to wait. We are instructed to “wait for” God, fining our rest in Him. We can read this throughout the scriptures, but I think that Psalm 37:7 is the best example. “Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him.” I usually read out of the English Standard Version, but if you check several different versions, you will find that most translations use the word “for” instead of the word “on.” Maybe in Hebrew there is not a huge grammatical distinction, but I speak English, and in English the difference is major! Lets look to the server to understand. If you were a server and someone was seated at your table, it would be your job to wait on that someone. If you saw them seated at your table and decided to wait for that person, you wouldn’t last long! Your job is not to idly wait for the customer. Your job, as a server, is to wait on the customer! Hopefully you are beginning to see the difference! To wait on means to tend to the needs of someone. Rather than idleness, waiting on speaks of work! It speaks of carrying out a job or a purpose! When you are on the clock, your job as a server is to put aside your desires and agenda for the sake of the person that you are serving, or waiting on. While you are at work, your job is to focus on the person you are serving, in order that they might be satisfied and fulfilled. Men, we wait for our wives to get ready, but it is our job to wait on her the rest of the time!
It is the same for us with God! So many of us misunderstand, and we wait for God! We wait for Him to bless us, we wait for Him to deliver us, we wait for Him to move! Then, when we feel tired, we struggle to find rest because we have not learned the appropriate way, or the appropriate place. Don’t get me wrong, taking some time off from work, ministry, etc. can be a good thing! I think that it is good to take a little vacation here and there. But I think that the strong desire for a vacation is often due to an extreme lack of true rest. My understanding of true, biblical rest, is not an event that happens sometimes. Rest is not summer vacation or weekend getaway. Sometimes we find rest in times like that, but I think of rest along the same line as worship. Worship ought to be an ongoing part of our lifestyle! So also should rest be built in to our lifestyle! At the end of Matthew chapter eleven, Jesus instructs His disciples to trade the burden of their yoke for His yoke. He says that His yoke is easy and His burden is light. He instructs us to rest by taking up a yoke! How can we rest with a yoke on our shoulders? What is that yoke that Jesus spoke of?
A yoke referred to cattle being harnessed and driven to plow land, mill grain, or haul heavy loads. Every human being has a yoke, and that yoke starts off as a yoke of sinfulness. We are working in this world, searching for satisfaction and fulfillment, yet we never find it. Hence vacations and weekends. But when Jesus said “Come to me, all who are heavy ladened, and I will give you rest,” He offered rest in the form of a different kind of yoke. His yoke is the yoke of the Kingdom agenda! We still have a job to do, but grace has taken care of the weight of sin in order that we might work freely and joyfully, building the Kingdom of God and living a life of being obedient to God! Just as a server tends to the needs of the person they are serving, so also do God’s children wait on their Father, meeting His needs in the ways that He has made us able to do so, through the Holy Spirit living in us! God is putting us to work! When we accept salvation, we clock in to a life of obedience to God.
I know, this doesn’t sound much like rest. Rest and relaxation are not the same thing. Pastor Gary spoke Sunday about why God would have “rested,” despite being limitless, without need of rest. When God rested, He did something other than relaxing. He found satisfaction with His creation. He saw all that He had made, and said it was good. He took pleasure in what He had accomplished. I think that our American lifestyle of regular vacations, while being a blessing to be able to experience, is like a person craving unhealthy foods. Though it is debated, some nutritionists tell us that when we crave unhealthy foods, like sugar, it is a misinterpretation of a need that our body is expressing. For instance, when we crave salt, we may actually be in need of calcium! I often crave taking a whole month off of work! But that desire is due to dissatisfaction, usually due to dealing with difficult customers or feeling like I have more “to-do” than I have time. I even feel like I need a month long break from ministry sometimes! But, again, that stems from a feeling of ineffectualness or a lack of fulfillment in what I am doing.
What is the solution? The solution is to understand how rest is different from relaxation. When me and my wife went on our cruise, I felt relaxed! I got to eat grilled Reubens and drink ginger ale while sitting on the Lido deck overlooking the Caribbean! How relaxing is that! But that didn’t satisfy any of the desires that God has put in my heart. I am grateful that God blessed us with the opportunity to spend a week relaxing, but I understand that my rest is not found in a cruise ship. My satisfaction and fulfillment in life is not found in life here on earth at all! Despite the beauty and wonder of the earth, satisfaction and fulfillment is only found in God! Just like worship, rest must be a part of our lifestyle. We must continually find rest in God if we want to truly experience rest.
Think of that server again, but this time think about their finances. If all they do is clock in, but never tend to the needs of the customer, they may be employed, but their financial needs will never be satisfied! They might interact with the customer, but unless they pay attention to that customer, they will not be tipped.A good server, one who is finding satisfaction and fulfillment, is a server who waits on, not for. What is the point of calling yourself a server if you never serve?
It is so much easier to enjoy a vacation or weekend getaway, for the purpose of rest, if we already feel satisfied and fulfilled. If I take a vacation, but know that I still wont be able to pay my bills when I get home, how will I be able to relax while I’m away? If I don’t disciple those who serve alongside me at church, how will I be able to relax, or rest, when I take time off from serving? If I don’t pay attention to the sermon on Sunday, how will I relax when life gets hard during the week? It is important that each of us finds rest. It is important that we take time to decompress, relaxing and refocusing our attention. But that cant happen if we aren’t living a life of rest in God. Take His yoke upon you today, and find true rest!