Have you ever just needed a break? I mean a really looooooooooong break? Hmm? I know that I’ve needed a break for quite sometime now. I know, I know, “Why do you need a break? Pastors only work a split shift on Sundays and a couple of hours on Wednesdays!” Yeah, yeah, I’ve heard that one before! But I also realize that my work is never completed. It’s not completed until God says that it’s completed.
“But you do need to rest,” you’d say. That’s true. Without a good solid 6-8 hours of sleep a night there are all sorts of physical issues that can come up. With lack of sleep there is grumpiness (I’m not much of a morning person unless I wake up at the crack of noon!). With lack of sleep there are headaches. Without a good sleep there is loss of appetite. Chemicals in the body tend to get out of whack when you don’t have enough sleep. But this is not the type of rest of which I am speaking.
“But you do need to have an emotional break,” you’d say. Yes, that is true. Just this week I ministered to a family who almost lost their husband, father, brother, son. He went down at a house fire and suffered a major heart attack. As I am writing this he is getting ready to have a triple bypass heart surgery. Seeing the paramedics work on their friend and seeing the defibrillator doing its job was horrifying. As I spoke to his son yesterday, he said that he couldn’t get the images of his father down on the ground and them doing CPR on him. Sometimes you need an emotional break, but this is not the type of rest of which I am speaking.
The type of rest of which I am speaking is the rest of completion. This is the type of rest that the writer of Hebrews was admonishing his readers (or listeners) to enter into. The rest in Hebrews 3-4 is described as the Sabbath. Most of the time people think that this just means that they are not supposed to work but physically lounge around. The word “rest” in these chapters, however, indicate that something has been completed. The tasks that God has given to you to perform or to do need to be completed. And once they are completed, then the Sabbath rest comes. The Lord Jesus Christ was faithful to complete His work and He desires for us to do the same.
So think on this today:
But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, have this attitude; and if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that also you; however, let us keep living by that same standard to which we have attained.
Paul the Apostle, Philippians 4:7-16