The Gospel Works on Rest

Today’s post is part of a series to help us take what we learn on Sunday into the rest of the week. These posts summarize the main points from the week’s sermon and include questions for continued reflection and prayer. The posts in this series are written by members of our church’s Adult Christian Formation team.

This past Sunday our service theme was “God Gives Us Rest.” Pastor Bobby preached on Exodus 20:8-11, Deuteronomy 5:12, and Mark 2:27-3:6 on why and how God gives us Sabbath rest. That theme addresses the tension we feel between problems that come from overworking and problems that come from underworking.

These scripture passages show that we are created and redeemed for rest. We are made in the image of a God who rested after creating all things. This explains how when we can’t let go of our work we end up breaking ourselves, since we were created by a God who rested and intends for us to rest as well.

The biblical Sabbath also relates to the redemption of slaves from overwork. God’s salvation frees us from the need to work in damaging and unhealthy ways. If our work becomes about something much deeper than the work itself, such as a need to prove our identity, that work can become our master, causing us to live as if God had not redeemed us from slavery.

The Bible additionally tells us not just to stop working, but to rest unto the Lord. This is because our rest is in the Lord. God has already justified our existence through Jesus, so we don’t need to achieve that through work.

We can practice the rest that God gives us in at least two ways: We can “remember” the Sabbath, allowing ourselves to be called back to who we were created to be. We also have to “observe” the Sabbath, intentionally planning our weekly rest to make sure that it happens.

Questions for prayer and reflection:

  1. Do you tend to compulsively overwork yourself? If so, what might be causing you to do that?
  2. Is there any kind of work or task that you have trouble letting go of? Does this keep you from fully loving God or other people?
  3. Have you accepted that Jesus has done the truly necessary work, leaving you to rest as needed in the midst of doing good works?
  4. Do you observe the Sabbath? How can you (and your family or others around you) be more intentional in observing a day of rest dedicated to God?