November 07, 2010

Rest in God

Deuteronomy 5:12-15

“Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath …”
Deuteronomy 5:13


Sabbath-keeping is a sign of faith. Setting work aside one day a week is a way of saying that we have more faith in our Creator and Sustainer God than we do in ourselves. Keeping Sabbath recognizes that while we are workers in God’s fields, the fields are still God’s.

Today most Christians keep Sabbath on Sunday, the day of Christ’s resurrection. It is easy to think that any work we do on that day is an exception. We need to get it done; it’s too important to let go until Monday. But that kind of thinking denies God the right to be Lord of Creation and Lord of the Harvest. We rob God of his time. We act as if it all depends on us. But it doesn’t. All our efforts will be futile without God’s blessing.

Sabbath-keeping can easily slip into legalistic rule keeping, in which we argue about which sports we can play, or how many miles we can travel on a Sunday afternoon. But legalism misses the point. We cease labor when we keep Sabbath in order to rest in and enjoy the work completed for us in Christ. It’s salvation that is celebrated on the Sabbath. Sabbath remembers the day in which the Lord delivered us. We were slaves, but now we are free. We were in bondage to a harsh taskmaster, but now we’re redeemed to serve a generous Lord. So let’s not become slaves to our own work. Rest in God and in God’s amazing work in Christ.

Father, forgive us for acting as if our own work is what will save us. Thank you for the work of your salvation, finished in Christ, in whose name we pray. Amen.

About the author — Kent Van Til

Kent Van Til was a missionary in Costa Rica. He taught theological ethics both there and in the USA. He is the author of four books. The most recent is a spiritual biography of his grandmother entitled, "A Name for Herself: A Dutch Immigrant's Story." Kent likes to fish, hunt, make music, and entertain his grandchildren.

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