As some of you know, I have a new job. Yep, that’s right. I turned 31 years old and suddenly decided on a complete career shift! Of course, the reasons were simple to understand: less travel away from home, more time with my husband and future kids, greater ability to juggle work and home and ministry, and to remain sane!
One of the key reasons I changed was so that I could relax more. This past January, my doctor cautioned me against continuing the rapid, stressful pace; not only was my hair falling out in clumps but I felt overwhelmed, fatigued, and just discouraged all the way around. Yes, the change in career couldn’t have come at a better time.
But, over the past couple months, I’ve learned that part of the problem…was me. Being rather high-strung and a definite perfectionist, I just couldn’t slow down until my new supervisor sat me down and told me, ‘You’re overdoing it.’ She said my work was great but I didn’t have to pick up everyone else’s work too.
Wow, what was wrong with me? I guess…I didn’t know how to rest any more…
In searching my heart, I realized that the former career was likely not the problem. In fact, numerous passages of scripture reflect upon the rest given by God.
While scripture certainly tells us that a man who does not work does not eat, it also speaks of balance (2 Thess. 3:10). We are to practice moderation or balance, according to Philippians 4:5.
Unfortunately, our culture is often out of balance, encouraging lives that live in a constant state of frustration. While Ecclesiastes 9:10 advises, “whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might,” God also cautioned that we are to take care of His temple, our bodies.
Rest is an integral part of caring for our bodies. Often, God did things as examples to us. For instance, Jesus was baptized of John not for His own edification but as an example that all must be baptized. Notice that God rested on the seventh day of creation. It is not that He grew weary or just couldn’t lift a finger anymore; instead, He was giving us an example of resting!
Just because we are filled with the Holy Ghost, doesn’t make us super humans who do not need rest!
Just because we are Americans, doesn’t negate the need for relaxation!
And just because we have some free time doesn’t mean we have to fill it with meaningless motion that seldom has real meaning!
Hebrews 4:9-12 is often misconstrued as speaking of death; however, pay attention to the entire context of the passage:“There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief. For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”
The rest that God gives us is not death; it is a rest given by the Prince of Peace in the form of the Comforter, the Holy Ghost!
Furthermore, God does not intend for us to shake the world on our own power; there are times when we need to respect our role as the human creation, step aside, and let the all-powerful Creator take over!
As 1 Corinthians 3 states, one plants, one waters, but all increase comes from God so stop stressing!
How does God feel about our hyped up, stress-filled lives?
Just look at King David. He had a kingdom to run, which is more than I can say for any reader here although we often may feel we have the entire weight of the world upon our shoulders!
In Psalm 23, David wrote:
“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.” Even if I drop the ball or even just relax a little, God will never leave me comfortless nor will he forsake my needs.
· Matthew 10:29-32 says, “Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.”
· Psalm 37:25 says, “I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.”
· Philippians 4:19 says, “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”
· In John 14:18, Jesus says, “I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.”
· No matter how hard you stress or how little, God will never leave you without!
“He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.” Yes, sometimes the lull you feel in your ministry or your life occurs because He must force us to rest. We think that suddenly we have no direction or purpose because things have slowed down, but He is making us lie down in green pastures. So…enjoy the rest, enjoy the mountain top experience before rushing back down into the valley!
· Note: He will lead us beside still waters. There are times you need a respite from the storm or even from the consistent push and pull of the tide.
· Whether this peace is obtained through spending time in God’s presence or through life changes, God is calming the waves for you.
· Isaiah 9:6 says that Jesus is the “Prince of Peace!”
“He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.”
· Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose.”
· Whether in storm or in calm, in flux or in stability, in revival or in drought, we are in the palm of God’s hand.
· In John 10:27-28, Jesus says, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand!”
· If we are in God’s hand, living righteously before him, all things are working together for good so we should never stress or fear.
· Psalms 37:23 says, “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord.”
A Final Point: Though there are many beautiful facts in Psalm 23, I must draw your attention to verse 5.
“Thou prepares a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.”
· First, no matter how successful or defeated we may feel at this time, God is setting a table before us.
· Our enemies will always be confounded by the blessings of God showered upon us.
· How can we trust God to give us blessings despite the presence of the enemy?
· In Luke 11:11-13, God says, “If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Gather give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?”
· Furthermore, for those in ministry. Anointing does not come from working your fingers to the bone, setting your family and health aside to spend just one more hour working. Anointing is a gift from a friend to a friend.
· David said, “Thou [God] anointest my head with oil.” God anoints; your actions do not.
The point? Rest in the Lord.
Trust His Will. Even when things don’t seem to be going the way you planned, trust that He is working his plan!
Your only responsibility is to serve God.
According to 1 Peter 4:2, we are to no longer please the lusts of men, but live to the will of God! Mankind is insatiable. No matter how hard you work, you’ll never please man.
But you can please God!
Remember This Today: Matthew 6:33
“Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you!”