Exodus 20:10 - But the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates.
One of my favorite Bible verses is Isaiah 40:30-31: "Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint."
Weariness is something we all experience, but its cause is not simply from overwork or having the weight of the world on our shoulders. The root cause of weariness is our disconnect with God, the One who loves us. We're disconnected because of our sin and guilt. This broken connection with the One who cares for us leaves us weary and worn out. And like Isaiah reminds us, even the strongest get overwhelmed, eventually.
But the God of heaven 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. Though we don't have the power to fix this situation, God does. And He did so through His Son Jesus who gave His life to bring us back to the Father.
The Sabbath rest in Genesis reminds us that God desires rest and harmony for us, not weariness and discord. And by the way, such rest doesn't mean idleness. Life is meant to be lived—fully and vigorously—mindful of Him who created and redeemed each one of us to be His own.
A few years ago, we did an event at Lutheran Hour Ministries called "Run with the Rev." Yep, the Rev was me. Several people and I "trained" online for 12 weeks to run a half-marathon. On race day we gathered, put on our running shoes and T-shirts, and took off running. Guess what verse we had on the back of those shirts? That's right: Isaiah 40! It empowered each of us with a Sabbath-rest confidence throughout the grueling half-marathon.
But here's something else we found out that day: among the other runners participating, many were not Christian. They saw the Isaiah verse on the back of our shirts, and afterwards many of them came up to us at the finish line. One runner said, "Thanks for the verse. It was encouraging to see the words, and to see you running with that mindset. It helped me get to the finish line. Thanks again!"
That's God at work, isn't it? His Words of refreshment and rest are meant for everyone. There is hope and encouragement in His truth—no matter who you are or what your relationship is with Him. And how He wants all of us to turn to Him when we're weary and exhausted! Jesus, God's preeminent long-distance runner, said it best: "Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light" (Matthew 11:28-30). Amen.
From "Rest for the Weary!" a devotional message from Rev. Dr. Gregory Seltz, former Speaker of The Lutheran Hour
1. Do you prefer team sports or individual athletics? Why?
2. Why do you think God would give mankind a day of rest each week?
3. Do you take time and turn to Jesus for rest and refreshment when you're tired?
To Download Devotion MP3 to your computer, right click here and select "Save Link As" or "Save Target As" or "Download Linked File As"