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Monday, June 3, 2013

Needed Four-Letter Word

When I look at my calendar I anticipate its busy-ness.

I know there will be places I want to go, parties I want to attend, services I wish to be involved in, and a host of other "stuff" that I won't be able to do.

That is frustrating! 

But I also know that I will probably be able to make some parties, services, and other "stuff" that I shouldn't make. 

No, I'm not speaking of places or activities at which a Christ follower should not be. I'm talking about good things that crowd our best things. And perhaps one of the "best" things that I (and perhaps thee) need is a four-letter word: 

R E S T 

Maybe it is only the "merry gentlemen" who get rest during the holidays. Most of us get vacation or extended days off, but with what do we fill it? Or, more likely, with what do we let others fill it? A favorite cartoon from years past shows a pastor looking at his day-timer with his wife observing, "God loves you, and everybody else has a wonderful plan for your life." 

Like the processionary caterpillar, too often we confuse activity with accomplishment. "I'd rather burn out than rust out," thunders an old-time evangelist. Perhaps it would be good to listen to the One who came to seek and to save that which was lost when He told his apostles "Come with Me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest." (Mark 6:31) 

It may be incredibly difficult for you to walk away from what seems so pressing. You may think it incredibly self-centered to want to get a few hours alone. Okay, fine; then facilitate a loved one getting the time! 

Husband---do whatever it takes to give your wife a few hours with "nothing to do." Let her get away from the oven, the shopping, the kids or grandkids, and all the other "stuff" so she can get some rest. She may not need "time alone with God," she may just need to catch her breath! 

Wife---give your husband permission to chill. Allow him a walk in the brisk air of evening. Let him sleep in the easy chair. Again, he may not necessarily need three hours in the Word of God and in prayer; he may "just" need fifteen minutes with no phone, no kids, no schedule.

In our contemporary "keep'em busy 24/7" culture, God help us parents to impart to our children it is okay to rest.

And may we recognize that one man's work is another's rest! Probably my favorite (and not done enough) form of "rest" is a long ride on my bike, or an hour-long hike in the woods.

Curling up with a book is rest, jogging may be rest to some, knitting to others, a crossword puzzle to someone else. 

Please don't subdivide your life into "spiritual" and "carnal" or "worldly." A follower of Christ is spiritual, and his or her life every moment, every secondis under the Lordship of the giver of time and life. I am just as "spiritual" riding my bike as I am meditating on a passage of Scripture. 

That being said, try to take time to just be alone with Him. 

Please be prepared to be shocked and/or angered: you don't need a Bible to be alone and close to the Lord! The written Word obviously helps us focus on the living Word, but the written Word does NOT say, "Be still with your daily devotional and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10 simply says, "Be still and know that I am God." You don't have to lift your hands (or not lift them, depending on your point of view I suppose). 

After all, it's a soul issue! 

Slowly read the following: "My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will never be shaken.Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes form Him." (Psalm 62: 1-5) You read it too fast! Go back and read it again, digest it, let the Holy Spirit convince you.

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