"Rest for the Weary! "
August 7, 2017
Exodus 20:10 - The seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall not do any work -- you or your son or your daughter, your male or female servant, or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you.
You know, one of my favorite verses in the Bible is Isaiah 40:30-31 where it says this: "Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint."
Weariness is a malady that's common to humanity, but its cause is not so much being overworked and underpaid; it's not having the weight of the world on your shoulders. The root cause of our weariness is that we're disconnected from God, the God who loves us. We're disconnected because of our sin and our guilt. That dislocation from the One who loves us, who strengthens us, empowers us, who cares for us, who guides us -- dislocation from Him -- leaves us to our own sinful devices. And like Isaiah reminds us, even the strongest get overwhelmed, eventually.
But the God of heaven who created us, created us to be at rest with Him -- not at odds with Him. He created us to be in harmony with Him -- not out of tune, totally on our own. And weariness itself when it hits us in life -- it's a sign that something must be done to fix things, and we don't have the power to do it.
The Sabbath rest in Genesis is a reminder that rest and harmony were the way God wanted things to be for us: rest, harmony, not weariness. Oh, and by the way, such rest doesn't mean idleness. A non-wearied life was meant to be lived -- that kind of life in God who created you and redeemed you to be His own. It means a sense of balance, strength, in the middle of work, as well.
You know, a few years ago, we did this event called "Run with the Rev." Yeah, the Rev was me. We ran a half-marathon together -- several people who had trained with me online for 12 weeks. On race day we gathered, put on our running shoes and our T-shirts, as well. And guess what verse we chose to have on the back of those shirts? You guessed it, Isaiah 40. That verse propelled each runner with a Sabbath-rest confidence in the middle of a grueling half-marathon.
And here's something else we found at that day: there were other runners out there, many of them not Christian, either. And they saw that verse on the back of our shirts as they were running. And many of them came up to our group at the finish line and said, "Thanks for the verse. It was so encouraging to see the words, and to see you running with that mindset. It helped me get to the finish line. Thanks again."
You see, in the middle of the race then, rest for the weary when they're overwhelmed and rest power in the middle of living your life in Christ for others. That's what it's all about. When you are in harmony with God because of Jesus Christ's work on your behalf you can face the issues of the day. You can whip worry in His Name.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, give us a sense of Your rest, a harmony that comes through faith in Jesus, and a knowledge of Your life-giving Word. Let that rest compel us to live life boldly as Your people for others. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Rev. Dr. Gregory Seltz
Speaker of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries