Weekends, holidays, vacations, getaways and you name it. We all love to take “rest” in our busy lives. Even after three months of summer vacation, you may wish that you had more holidays. When you take a break from work or study, do you genuinely feel restful? Just because you take a weekend to go shopping or watch a movie, or get away in a summer month to a tropical resort, can you taste the kind of rest that gives your heart deep peace?
What is the true rest, after all?
By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. – Genesis 2:2
The creation account tells us that God rested from all his work on the seventh day. Why? Because He “had finished the work.” This rest of God was a glorious and satisfying rest that came after accomplishing the creation of the beautiful world. God was filled with joy because of His love for us, and with hope because that love was about to bear fruit, multiply and fill the earth. The truest kind of rest is one that makes you smile and say, “this vision has been fulfilled. My goal has been achieved. What I dreamt of has now come true. Now something great is going to happen for sure.”
Have you ever tasted such profound rest in your life?
If your answer is no, you are honest and sober enough in acknowledging that, indeed, this perfect rest has been and is still lost ever since sin entered the world, just one chapter later.
That glorious rest of God was interrupted and taken away when Adam and Eve sinned and turned away from Him. Sin weighed on every man’s shoulders as a heavy burden, and, being estranged from the loving Creator, humanity began to take the path of painful and restless toil. If we had been left alone, we would still be toiling in vain for things that can never satisfy us or give us rest.
God, however, graciously came to our rescue. He sent His Son to redeem us, in order that we may come to taste and share the ultimate rest with Him.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Jesus Christ invites us to come and lay down our burdens of sin. He, in His great love for us, was punished for the heavy yoke of our sin for us and on our behalf. He died the death we should have died, so that we may die to sin, and live a new life through His risen life.
But that’s just the start.
If you read the above Matthew passage carefully, there is the second step before finding “rest for your souls.” Jesus asks us to take His yoke upon us. His yoke… the yoke of the cross? Is He asking us to take such a difficult path of self-sacrifice? How can the biggest burden of the cross be “easy and light”?
In this hard-to-swallow passage, there is the secret to the greatest, most glorious rest of God.
When we partake in the yoke of Christ, we partake in the path of completing God’s creation – to bear fruit and multiply in His love. You see, love is the ultimate goal and perfection of God’s original plan. When we serve others above ourselves, sacrifice for the people God dearly loves, and do it with His love, (not my petty, self-righteous and limited love) mysteriously we come to find the original, profound rest of God in our souls. Your body may be toiling and busy, but your spirit will be at peace and in rest.
Do you want to enjoy such deep rest that is not defined by our physical conditions or surroundings?
Come to Jesus Christ. Take His yoke of love, and walk beside Him, just like a pair of cows would carry one yoke together, and learn from Him the way of the agape love. In Him and with Him, you will find the true rest for your soul.