June 1, 2016
Come and Rest?
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden,
and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28
Vacation time approaches. For me, this means getting to rest my weary soul and spirit in a pew, to hear the teaching of another shepherd, and to feast on the sacrament consecrated by another pastor. Truth be told, I get to rest here every Sunday. Although it seems I am “working”, I join all the worshipers in confessing my sins, receiving absolution, praying and praising, and even hearing the sermon, which the Lord has given us from His Word. (Pastors preach first to themselves.) So, whether I am at the pulpit or in the pew, it’s all rest for my soul.
That is why King David expressed such high praise for celebrating the rest that is found in the presence of the Lord’s house: I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord! Psalm 122:1; This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24. The time in the Lord’s House on the Lord’s Day is for rejoicing, renewing, refreshing and rest. Jesus Himself worshipped in the synagogue regularly on the Lord’s Day and found rest in His times for prayer.
So it is to me somewhat confusing and sad whenever people consider worship as a chore, obligation, or merely as a requirement to be considered “good Christians”. It’s always good to be in the Lord’s House, but if they are present only because they are assigned a “job” that Sunday, they are missing the joy of God’s unmerited grace. We all can serve on some Sundays, but every Sunday is a day for our Lord to serve us His gifts. When we can come away from the world’s pressures and enter into the fellowship of Christ and our Christian family we can be better equipped and strengthened to serve His love and grace throughout the week.
Jesus said that He came “not to be served, but to serve, and give His life as a ransom” for us. He did that on the cross, and invites us to remember often what He has done and to grow in the knowledge of His grace and how to live that out in this world. He must have known this was something we need from Him, or he would have never said, “come and rest.”