Derek Smith, Lead Pastor LHBC 

Hebrews 4:1-10
Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us fear lest any of you should seem to have failed to reach it. 2 For good news came to us just as to them, but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who listened. 3 For we who have believed enter that rest, as he has said, “As I swore in my wrath, ‘They shall not enter my rest,’” although his works were finished from the foundation of the world. 4 For he has somewhere spoken of the seventh day in this way: “And God rested on the seventh day from all his works.” 5 And again in this passage he said, “They shall not enter my rest.” 6 Since therefore it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly received the good news failed to enter because of disobedience, 7 again he appoints a certain day, “Today,” saying through David so long afterward, in the words already quoted, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.” 8 For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken of another day later on. 9 So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, 10 for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his.

One man challenged another to an all-day wood chopping contest. The challenger worked very hard, stopping only for a brief lunch break. The other man had a leisurely lunch and took several breaks during the day. At the end of the day, the challenger was surprised and annoyed to find that the other fellow had chopped substantially more wood than he had.

“I don’t get it,” he said. “Every time I checked, you were taking a rest, yet you chopped more wood than I did.”

“But you didn’t notice,” said the winning woodsman, “every time I sat down to rest I was sharpening my axe.”

Many people in today’s culture are chopping wood with a dull axe. Instead of taking time to rest and reconnect with God and family we stay in constant motion.  More…more…more is the motto of the day, but more does not lead to contentment. More money, more possessions, more notoriety, and more responsibility can also lead to more problems in life if there is not a foundation of total faith in Christ. Here the writer of Hebrews reminds us that because of what Christ did on the cross there is nothing more we must do for our salvation. Christ’s death on the cross was enough for our forgiveness and His resurrection life is sufficient for our justification before God. Now we can enter the Sabbath rest of God, we can rest fully in what Christ did for us at Calvary by childlike faith. God is not taking note of our performance or what we are producing for Him. He simply calls us to rest in His love and walk in His truth, to follow His lead and just obey what He tells us to do. 

So, Child of God, REST! On the seventh day of the creation week God Himself rested from His work. It was not because He was tired, He gave us an example to follow. We are the ones who wear out quickly and easily, and it’s when we take time to rest that we show just how much we trust in the Lord. He is a great Provider and an awesome Savior! Jesus also took time to rest. In the gospels we read multiple times during His 3 year ministry where he left the crowds and the Disciples in order to rest and pray. In Mark 6, after a season of strenuous ministry, Jesus told the Disciples to come away with Him and rest for a while. If Jesus and the Disciples took time to rest then certainly you and I can do the same, and we must. 

Today, if you want your marriage to be stronger, take time to rest and reconnect with your spouse. If you want your children to be encouraged, take some time to rest and invest in their lives. If you want your health to be better, take some time to rest. It’s been said we spend all our health gaining wealth only at the end of our lives to spend all our wealth trying to gain back health. Most importantly, if you want to really hear from the Lord and reconnect with Him, take time to rest. I challenge you to take at least one Sabbath day per week to rest, read, pray, and reconnect with your family. Then at least once per year take extended time away. Turn your phone off. Turn the TV and the computer off. Go camping. Go to the beach. Go to the mountains. If you don’t have the money to do that then just take a stay-cation and disconnect for at least a week. Just take a long walk through the woods or at a park somewhere. Above all, take extra time to read your Bible, pray, and worship. Let the Lord fill you with His love, and you will find your spiritual axe much sharper and prepared to do whatever the Lord would have you to do. 

Oh Father, I am so busy. I can be so distracted by all the stuff of this life. Job, money, possessions, hobbies, sports, and other commitments seem to dominate so much of my life. Forgive me Lord for not resting in You more. Help me to slow down and hear Your voice. In Jesus name, amen. 

Matthew 11:28-30
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 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. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”