Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Romans 12:12

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Working Hard at Rest

rest areaSo then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his. Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience.
[Hebrews 4:9-11]

Anyone who has had to plan a holiday knows that relaxing takes a lot of effort. Work needs to be wrapped   I can leave it behind for a while. Plans put in place for while I am gone. The vacation itself needs to be planned (where are you going to be and who will you be with?), supplies need to be gathered, time allocated, and people informed.

Is it any wonder that very few of us are able to relax for the first few days of our holidays? We are still wound up, strung out, and in full work mode. The holiday doesn’t really begin until your head joins your body, leaving work and concerns behind. Yes, relaxation takes a lot of work if you are going to do it right. Rest means effort.

But the rewards are well worth it! Do you remember what you did at work last week? Last year? Ever? Of course not. Not really, anyway. But, do you remember that time at the lake with your family? Or that trip you took out of country as a youngster? Or that reunion so many years ago? Of course you do … and fondly too!

For many people work is how they spend their time. The weekend, the summer, the holidays are where they really live! The joy of that rest and relaxation gets people through the frustrations and tedium of 9-5.

But rest doesn’t just happen. That’s important for us Christians to remember. Just as our bodies need rest, so do our souls. It is why God made room for a Sabbath rest right from the very beginning. It is why He rested Himself. Not because He was tired, but because we will be. Our spiritual batteries need to be recharged regularly or we just won’t have what we need to get through this life.

But this kind of rest doesn’t come easy either. It is something that takes conscious effort. It takes planning and committment. It takes a conscious effort. Where are you going to be? Who will you be with? What will you need? How much time should you set aside? All these need to be worked out before the benefit of God’s rest can work its blessings in your life. Your heart needs to be there together with your bottom when you plunk it down in the pew. Being ready to receive God’s Rest means putting in the effort ahead of time to really appreciate it when it comes.

But the reward is well worth it! For where Christ (who is our Sabbath rest) is there God refreshes unto everlasting life. The precious words of Forgiveness, the unconditional love of our Saviour. The blood-bought gift of salvation and a peace that passes all understanding … a peace that even passes the terrible Wednesday slump. All these and more are ready and waiting for you in the Word and the Sacraments. Are you ready to get the most out of them?