CreativeCommons by Oliver Kendal
The Rest Can’t Wait (Sermon Audio)
I preached yesterday on the biblical view of rest and Sabbath. Above is the audio.
I didn’t get to all of my points, so here’s a bit more that I would like to add.
I heard a story once about a professor at a Christian college who was at a Saturday night dinner with other professors. All whined about the grading they had to do the next day. Suddenly it struck her that Christians would never tell each other, “I’m planning to commit adultery” or “I think I’ll steal something.” So why do we feel fine about dismissing our Creator’s commandment to keep the Sabbath holy?
The Way to Rest
1. Start with your heart
The way to true rest is not to simply stop working. If you can’t take a break, because of your job, your kids, that happens. Taking a day off tomorrow is not an option for many of us.
Rest is an attitude, a posture of the heart.
So we need to slow down–not just our activities, but our hearts.
In that sense, Sabbath Rest can and should permeate every day.
Start with your heart: In Devotions, Quiet Times–Prayer, turning off, taking a break–these are restful when we take them as opportunities to demonstrate faith and belief, and experience the Gospel. We’re telling ourselves, “Self, find your rest in God alone.” Write out a prayer that helps you to rest in the Gospel.
2. STOP your Labors (enter into that rest—something that takes faith to do)
“If you can’t take time to do nothing, you’re a slave to doing. Doing nothing is a radical, revolutionary act. It frees you from the universal slavery of our age: slavery to the clock. The clock measures doing but not being.” Peter Kreeft
Will you STOP doing something? One day each week in which you don’t work—including not checking email and such—is more important than ever.
Can also take rhythm of rest and Sabbath & apply it to something. Take a social media sabbatical; for me its more than a diversion, it’s part of work. I’ve always said, “I have to be on there, I can’t get off, for work!” That’s exactly the point! I’ll have to trust in God to do that!
3. Cultivate your resting (enter into that rest)
Will you START doing something, something that helps you rest in Jesus?
Adele Calhoun, in her Spiritual Disciplines Handbook, talks about several practices that help us Rest—recognize your God-given limits by:
· building in scheduled unscheduled time.
· Take a nap. Take your sick days and vacation days—and rest on them.
· Retreat for an extended time with God, away from productivity and busyness.
· Offer God 3 cares for the day before your head leaves the pillow
Or, and this is radically counter-cultural, the discipline of “Slowing”—curb your addiction to busyness and inner hurriedness
· Drive in the slow lane
· Get enough rest—8 hours
· Speak more slowly
· Look people in the eyes
· Chew slowly
· Sit longer at the table
· Schedule buffer time between meetings
4. Go farther and faster with God!
Many people have heard the story of Eric Liddell, the great athlete turned missionary. His story was immortalized in the movie “Chariots of Fire,” and people have been quoting his line, “When I run I feel his pleasure,” ever since.
You may not know that he also knew when NOT to run. The story is told (and I’ve lost the citation for this) that:
The Olympics in 1924 were in Paris. His best event, the 100 meters, was going to be held on Sunday. As someone with convictions about the Sabbath, Liddell refused to run in the heat held on Sunday and was forced to withdraw. The schedule had been published several months earlier, and his decision was made well before the Games. Liddell spent the intervening months training for the 400 meters, though his best time of 49.6 seconds was modest by international standards. When the day of the Olympic 400 meters race came, Liddell went to the starting blocks, where an American Olympic Team coach slipped a piece of paper into his hand with a quotation from 1 Samuel 2:30: “Those who honor me I will honor.”
The 400 meters had been considered a middle-distance event in which runners raced round the first bend and coasted through the back leg. Inspired, Liddell raced the whole of the first 200 meters to be well clear of the favored Americans. With little option but to then treat the race as a complete sprint, he continued to race round the final bend. He was challenged all the way down the home straight but held on to take the win. He broke the existing Olympic and world records.
“In repentance and rest is your salvation; In quietness and trust is your strength”
Rest is God’s gift. It’s one of the ways we remember the Gospel, and practice it on a daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly basis. So how are you resting? What are you going to stop doing, and start doing, in order to practice gospel rest? Virtually everything you’re busy doing can wait; but your rest can’t.