Moments in the life of a Pastor

Walking with God

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19. Holiday or Holy day? – Part 2

Exodus 20:8-11
“Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9 You have six days each week for your ordinary work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of rest dedicated to the Lord your God. On that day no one in your household may do any work. This includes you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, your livestock, and any foreigners living among you. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and everything in them; but on the seventh day he rested. That is why the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and set it apart as holy.”
As we continue to look at the Worshipper we discover that worship doesn’t just impact our relationships but also our:
B. Rest
Worship enables us to “rest” before God. Resting in Him results in relying on Him. Resting results in trusting but running results in trying. Many of us are trying to worship through our work, instead of letting worship fuel our work we are working to fuel our worship. Working to try and get God to love us instead of worship that reminds us that we are loved. This rest isn’t just a physical rest it’s a spiritual rest. It is a resting from trying to save ourselves through our works. Its resting in Christ’s finished work on the cross. So, let me ask you are relying on works based salvation or resting in the work of the Savior? When we rely on our work to get to heaven our worship is replaced by work, we become workers for God but not worshippers of God. Resting reminds us that we are limited but the Lord is not. It reminds us to do life in the Lords strength not ours. The reason many of us are serving out of weariness is because we are doing things for Jesus instead of doing things with Jesus. In Psalm 23:1-3 David says: “The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, 3 he refreshes my soul.” The first thing the shepherd does is lead His sheep to lie down. Notice he has to make them lie down, rest doesn’t come naturally but wrestling and being restless does. Instead of resting in Jesus some of us are wrestling with Jesus. Why do the sheep need to lie down, so they can ruminate. They have to regurgitate what they have already taken in and chew their cud so they can get the most out of it. When we rush into work without ruminating and really digested God’s Word we go on a partially full stomach. And when we only get part of the nutrition it’s not long before we become malnutritioned. REST protects us from running on empty. This is illustrated in the following story about two woodcutters named Peter and John. Who decided to hold a competition to see who could cut more wood in a day. They both took up their positions in the forest and started chopping away as fast as they could. This lasted for an hour before Peter suddenly stopped. When John realized that there was no chopping sound from his opponent’s side, he thought: “Ah Ha! He must be tired already!” And he continued to cut down his trees with double the pace. 15 minuets later John heard his opponent chopping again. John was starting to feel weary when the chopping from Peter stopped once again. Feeling motivated and smelling victory close by, John continued on, with a smile on his face. This continued the whole day. Every hour, Peter would stop chopping for fifteen minutes while John kept going relentlessly. So, when the competition ended, John was absolutely confident that he had won. But to John’s astonishment, Peter had actually cut down more wood. How could this be? After all Peter kept stopping, but what John failed to realize was that while Peter rested, he was sharpening his axe. Today everybody, everywhere seems to be busy. But most of them are too busy doing and trying to achieve that they do not take the necessary time to renew themselves, to learn and grow and sharpen the “axe”. We overwork ourselves amidst the overwhelming tasks at hand. We feel drained, exhausted and our productivity declines. Do we simply take a break and relax? No that isn’t sharpening the axe, that’s just putting the axe down. The blade will still be dull after your break. Yes, the woodcutter needs to relax but real rest, rest in the Lord is what sharpens the blade and allows us to become more productive. Today we are skipping the Sabbath because we think if we just work more, we will be more productive. But it hasn’t led to productivity its led to problems. Instead of a productive nation we have become a destructive nation. A problematic nation not a productive one. Do you want to be a productive person or a problem person? Not only are we skipping the Sabbath to work but also to play, to escape work. But just taking a break and relaxing doesn’t sharpening the axe, that’s just putting the axe down. Which is no wonder that we feel worn out when we have to pick it up again on Monday. We are not resting we are just running from work. Which leads to living for the weekend instead of living all week. Remember that every day is a brand new opportunity to rest in Jesus so that we can not only be recharge and renew but so that He can refine us. Sharpening the blade involves grinding away the old dull edge. Sometimes it results in a little friction heat and sparks. Renewing sometimes involves removing. Even when it doesn’t feel good, we need to rest in the Redeemer. Let me encourage you to devote time to sharpening your axe instead of chopping away doggedly. Are you working out of weariness or out of worship? Working smarter instead of longer starts with spending time with Jesus. How sharp is your axe? Five years ago I took a Sabbatical, which at the time was radical for our church. But it change me and made me a more effective pastor, because it gave God time to sharpen the axe. Spiritual rest has a profound impact on our physical body. Worship combats worry, because it’s hard to worry when you are resting in God’s Word. The Sabbath is thus a “rest” in God, a time for our soul to refresh itself as much as it is to prepare us for work in the world. The one who fails to worship by honoring the Sabbath will not find satisfaction in life or work in the way God designed them to experience it. In this sense the Sabbath was not made for God, it was made for man, a statement Jesus clearly says in Mark 2:27 “Then he said to them, ‘The Sabbath was made for ma, not man for the Sabbath.’” So what are you resting in, is it the Almighty or you’re ability?