Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, 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.– Matthew 11:28-29
How do you find rest? And what does rest even mean?
Dictionary.com defines rest this way:
- the refreshing quiet or repose of sleep:
"a good night's rest."
- refreshing ease or inactivity after exertion or labor:
"to allow an hour for rest."
relief or freedom, especially from anything that wearies, troubles, or disturbs.
- a period or interval of inactivity, repose, solitude, or tranquility:
to go away for a rest.
- mental or spiritual calm; tranquility.
Rest sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?
Let’s face it… we all need a break… a “time out” from the burdens we carry, the situations that are troubling and the things in life that get us down. Since no one’s life is perfect, I think it’s fair to say that we all have times in our life that feel like we’re climbing a mountain… with a twisted knee… and boulders in our backpack.
Rest can be a very elusive thing… especially while working in stressful environments, in the midst of caring for aging parents, running after small children and carpooling kids and grandkids from one activity to the next.
The language of the New Testament, Greek, is much richer than English and can give us insight into what exactly Jesus was saying when he said, “… and you will find rest for your souls”. The Greek word anapausis is translated as “rest” in this passage. But it means so much more than the dictionary definition above.
In Hastings’ Dictionary of the Bible, James Hastings explains it this way:
Christ's "rest" is not a "rest" from work, but in work, not the rest of inactivity but of the harmonious working of all the faculties and affections -- of will, heart, imagination, conscience -- because each has found in God the ideal sphere for its satisfaction and development.
For the next two weeks, we’ll be talking about what it means to find rest in Christ. Join us this Sunday… and invite a weary friend!