9 There remains therefore a rest for the people of God.
10 For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His. Hebrews 4:9-10 (NKJV)
By Bro. John L. Cash
The Bible tells us that after God made the world, He rested on the seventh day. Now since He is omnipotent, I’m sure He didn’t rest because of fatigue. He wasn’t tired. He didn’t rest to get recuperated. He only ceased from activity to set a pattern for us. You see, human beings weren’t designed to work seven days a week. The Bible, scientific research, and personal experience makes it clear that when people don’t get some rest every week, things don’t go well.
The other morning I heard Lionel Richie crooning the words, “That’s why I feel easy…Easy like Sunday morning.” I love to hear that song, but I must tell you I can’t identify with his sentiment at all. For me, Sunday morning isn’t “easy” at all; it’s the most stressful day of my work week. In fact, if I sang about the early hours of my Lord’s Day, I would have to change the words to “I feel uneasy…Uneasy like something’s burning….”
(Not that anything’s actually on fire on Sunday but, when I’m getting ready for church, I have the same feeling you get when the roast has boiled dry and the whole house is full of smoke and you’re trying to do something about it.)
Do you remember how stressed you felt preparing for your wedding day? That’s the sort of stress preachers feel every Lord’s Day. There are hundreds of things that have to be done (and that must go correctly) in order for a good worship service to take place. A lot of those things can’t be done until the day gets here. My Sunday morning usually starts at 5:00 a.m. Last Sunday, I actually woke up at 4:15 because I couldn’t sleep. By the time morning worship is over, I’ve worked for 7 hours. Afterwards, I’m really tired. On Mondays I always feel like I’ve been hit by a bus. It makes it really hard to get up to go to work.
My parents and grandparents instilled in me that the Lord’s Day should be “a day of rest.” Alas, it isn’t so for me. And if the truth be told, the Lord’s Day isn’t a day of rest for anybody who goes to church. (Especially if they have to get children ready.) But I’m fortunate to be able to get about a half-day of rest on most Sundays. My weekly routine is to return home after preaching, eat lunch, and then take a nap before I return to preach at evening worship.
Since I only manage to get half a day of rest on Sundays, I always try to get one-half a day of rest on Saturday. Most weekends I relax and do what I want on Saturday mornings and begin my work about lunchtime. Getting a whole day of rest during the week makes all the difference to my quality of life — even if my “Sabbath’s Rest” is split into pieces.
In the Old Testament, God gave His people the Sabbath each week as a day of rest. In the New Testament, instead of giving us a day as our rest, He has given us a person. Today’s Scripture lesson (at the top) tells us that by entering into the salvation that is offered by Jesus, we find rest from our labors. No longer do we have to labor and work to earn our salvation. His work was finished once and for all on Calvary’s cross. We can find rest in Him.
So make sure to take some time for resting and relaxation this week. It’s a very holy thing to do. And even when you’re working, rest in the fact that God loves you and sent His Son to redeem you. Jesus Christ is the Sabbath’s rest for the people of God.
Dr. John L. Cash is the “Country Preacher Dad.” He was raised in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and has spent the last 31 years being a country preacher in the piney woods five miles south of the little town of Hickory, Mississippi. (On week days has a desk-job at a public school, where he used to teach Latin on closed-circuit-television.) He and his lovely wife, Susan, live in the parsonage next door to the Antioch Christian Church (where everyone is sneezing because of the ragweed pollen this week.) Their kids include Spencer (age 25), his wife Madeline (age 25), and Seth (age 22), and his wife Leanne (age 21). You can send him a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.