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Wednesday, June 11, 2014

True Rest

Recently there was a bear in the news who managed to have a little downtime in a hammock.  While this bear became an overnight viral Internet sensation via social media, there is a great little lesson for us in this humorous story.  You can check out the story here:
The bear seemingly needed a break; a chance to get off his feet, a change of pace.  The image is hilarious and makes us laugh but in reality we can take a moment to think about where we need to take a rest.

Sometimes we need to ask ourselves a question: Are we so filled up with doing that we lose sight of resting?  Our culture is a "pull yourself up by the bootstraps" type that demands our workaholic lives be spent in search of more - whatever.  Whether it be money, upward mobility, stuff, sex, drugs, excess, etc.  We get caught up in what this world has to offer - and rest is not part of this culture.  Sure, we may take vacations, but we end up doing lots of things on these vacations.  Excursions, explorations, adventures are all words used on these "getaways."  And while there can be moments of rest they are punctuated by doing.  So what about rest?  True rest.  

Jesus tells us in Matthew 11:28 to "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."  Start with that first phrase - come unto me.  True rest starts with surrender.  Are we listening to His call?  Are we willing to come before the King of Kings and Lord of Lords and hear what he is telling us?  All we have to do is come to Him.  So how do we come to Him?  Are we taking time to be with Him in solitude, in the quiet?  Perhaps early in the morning, or in the stillness of the night before we fall asleep?  Are we coming to Him when we are happy, sad, joyful, or in desperation?  All He asks is that we come to Him.

We all labor - sometimes at things that seem like they could be relaxing or in the hopes that we will find that solace, that break, that getaway.  But we all labor.  And we let the labor build up again, we let ourselves "do" more.  We can all relate.  

I am sure you have seen folks who look like they have the weight of the world on their shoulders.  The years of care are worn into their faces.  Or we know of a family whose child is facing a terminal diagnosis - that is heavy laden.  The loss of a job, family member, stress at work, at home.  All these can add up to a very heavy burden.  And we know this because we too have heavy burdens.  

But the payoff, Jesus gives rest.  But not as we know it.  Not just some quiet moment, but eternal peace - a peace that passes all understanding.  True rest, because the future, eternity, is taken care of.  You have seen those whose faces and lives beam with this calmness, the true rest of Jesus.  And yes they face the same life worries, cares, and like we all face.  Are we seeking His rest?  Seeking to show the world that Jesus gives true rest?  

So what a great reminder from this funny bear.  We all need rest - but the rest that Jesus gives.  Stop trying to rest and rest in Jesus.  Go to Him, run to Him, call to Him, come to Him.  Are you weary?   Are you heaven-burdened?  He will give you rest.  You may still be working, you may still have the same problems but His rest transcends, His rest is what we need and crave.  Enjoy His rest, seek His rest.  Rest.  True rest.  

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