"I remember the days of old; I meditate on all thy works; I muse on the work of thy hands." - Psalm 143:5

Thursday, October 21, 2010

I’m Back - The Discipline of Rest


Well, its been a week since my self imposed break and pause
(see last post).
I took the time off to reflect and think over some questions I was asking Father God about. Although I don’t think my time of reflection is over (is it ever?) I wanted to share some of my thoughts from my sermon from this past Sunday. During my time of reflection I discovered something about rest that surprised me and gave me hope…it’s that discovery I would like to share. I do apologize for its length! Blessings, Jay

When I mention the word REST, what do you think of?

Holidays, vacations, hobbies, naps…all provide some measure of rest and they’re good attempts at defining rest. When you talk about the discipline of rest…it sounds like a oxymoron like jumbo shrimp or pretty ugly…something seems off. Entering rest is a discipline and I think there is another way to describe rest…in this story from Luke I found something amazing.

It’s in Luke 10:38-42

(38)As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him.

(39) She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet listening to what he said.

(40) But Martha was distracted (Greek means pulled or dragged away) by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, "Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!"

(41)"Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things,

(42) but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away (Greek means robbed or deprive of something) from her."

What I learned in that story, what I’m learning in this part of my journey with Christ is this…

I believe that Rest is…worship.

I believe that true rest is a posture of worship, a position of worship and an attitude of worship.

I cannot have perfect peace if I’m not at worship in my heart. I cannot be more than a conqueror without worshipping the King. Because it’s decision to worship despite circumstances, trials, temptations, hard things, hard times…struggles. We must choose to worship the King, the Sovereign one. With that worship, with that posture, with that position of worship…we can enter into rest. Because we recognize that there is only one King and it’s not us! Rest is placing ourselves in a posture of worship…and that involves a choice.

It’s what I believe that story we just read. Mary chose a position at the feet of her Lord and took a posture of worship by doing so. Her heart attitude spoke of wanting to know her Master further, this moment was not to be missed. His presence drew her into a life giving moment; she stopped everything to be at His feet.

Even though it was not culturally accepted for her to listen to a Rabbi teach, (because she was a woman) even though she was expected to serve the people in the house…Mary did not allow the culture, the distractions and the EXPECTATIONS of other people keep her from choosing the good part. She sat at Jesus feet in worship…she was at rest from all the other stuff crowding her life…she was in His presence… Mary knew she could be at His feet and never be pushed away…and neither will we.

When our attention is focused on the Master, that’s a
moment of worship and trust.

Trust is at the heart of worship, at the core of rest…for if we trust the God who is sovereign over us, who has authority over, we will trust that He has authority over our circumstances as well.

When my focus is on Him, on God, on His teachings, on what He is saying to me and what He is trying to teach me, when I’m there in that place…I realize that He is in control over all my life. Since I have no control anyways I should be at peace, knowing that He is in control. I can be at rest when I worships because my attention is off those things that trouble me and on the Father. It’s not pretending that they don’t exist, its realizing that there is someone worthy of my full attention.

The Dictionary defines REST is this way…

Freedom from everything which wearies or disturbs; peace; security.

Scriptures defines REST this way…

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. Matthew 11:9

BTW the Greek means…."rest from weariness"

“Be at rest once more, O my soul, for the LORD has been good to you.”
Psalm 116:7

“This is what the LORD says: "Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. But you said, 'We will not walk in it.' Jeremiah 6:16

“And he said, My presence shall go [with thee], and I will give thee rest.”
Exodus 33:14

All these Scriptures talk about choices and about His presence. God is a rewarder of those who seek Him…that reward is rest. Rest is more than ceasing from activities, although it is important to have hobbies to release tension, vacations and recreation…they can help us for sure. However, taking a break is not going to cut it, having some down time is not going to bring into a position of rest…its not going to make the difference in our lives. What is going to make a difference is be like Mary. She sat, she waited, she listened, and she participated in a worship moment with Her Lord. Her posture of worship enabled her to rest from all those things that pressed heavy on her to do or to be or act like.

So, what is a worship posture…what does it look like?

It’s a place of a disciple

A place of willingness to be taught…it’s a humble posture. Its accepting the invitation of Christ to learn from Him.

Then Jesus said, "Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28

Martha did invite Jesus in but she didn’t accept the invitation to take His yoke.

It’s a place to be still (not just activity wise) but a place of trust.

“But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31

The Hebrew word for wait is means to gather or bind together and gives a picture of faith and patience working together. It’s not anxiously biting our nails but being on the alert, patiently trusting in the Father’s plans. Looking forward to what Father God will do.

Guarding the moment

Teach me your way, O LORD, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name. Psalm 86:11

Shifting our priorities is essential for worship, changing our focus is crucial for worship…for that we need an undivided heart. One that knows that listening to Jesus is huge, one that understands that all we need is found at His feet, in His presence…in worship.

“Worship does not satisfy our hunger for God, it whets our appetite.”
Eugene Peterson

Enter into His presence, take His Yoke…learn from Him…find rest.

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