In the creation account we read about what God did on the seventh (Sabbath) day. He rested!  Genesis 2:2-3 tells us “And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had 16 lord of the sabbathdone. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.” Tim Keller tells us, “According to the Bible, it is about more than just taking time off. After creating the world, God looked around and saw that ‘it was very good’ (Genesis 1:31). God did not just cease from his labor; he stopped and enjoyed what he had made. What does this mean for us? We need to stop to enjoy God, to enjoy his creation, to enjoy the fruits of our labor. The whole point of Sabbath is joy in what God has done.”

We live in a driven society. Every employer wants to know how good a candidate can be at multi-tasking. I expect that in comparison to earlier, less technological generations, we are all a little obsessive compulsive. We need to keep our lives in perspective. Although the Sabbath, created for man, includes the idea of resting from our labors it is far more than that. It is necessary in order to find inner rest for our souls as well. Keller goes on to say, “We need rest from the anxiety and strain of our overwork, which is really an attempt to justify ourselves—to gain the money or the status or the reputation we think we have to have. Avoiding overwork requires deep rest in Christ’s finished work for your salvation (Hebrews 4:1–10). Only then will you be able to ‘walk away’ regularly from your vocational work and rest.”

In Mark 2:27-28 Jesus called himself “the Lord of the Sabbath.” He’s the Lord of rest! One of my favorite passages is Matthew 11:28-29. Jesus calls us all in that passage when he says, “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.” After the fall man’s work was never as effective as it was intended. “Labor” in bringing forth children was part of the consequences for sin. “Labor” in the fields that would bring forth thorns and thistles instead of wheat and grain made everything difficult and painful. But the work of Jesus on the cross of Calvary done on our behalf is perfect. It’s complete.  The only real rest to be found in this sinful world is to rest confidently and comfortably in the hands of Jesus. No one or nothing can rip us from his loving care!