Greetings friends and family of MSLC,
August is already here and that usually signals the end of summer is coming and it’s time for children to return to school. That’s the way it was when I was a kid. The Labor Day holiday weekend was the end of summer and school resume on Monday. In today’s world, I will admit that I have no idea. There are some schools that start two weeks prior to the holiday weekend, so that they are dismissed for summer on Memorial Day weekend. Schools that do all-year long are another story.
August also marks the middle of the ‘dog days’ of summer for baseball fans. The ‘dog days’ start after the All-Star game, I believe, and last until September. It’s during this time that the teams that are good, continue to play good while the teams who thought they were good, begin to gain in the loss column and there aren’t a lot of wins.
August represents the beginning to the end of the family summer vacation season. Once school is out, parents can begin to implement those plans that were made during the winter. I thought about vacations and realized that I could literally write a small novel on human beings and their vacation ideas. There are those who at some point in life, traveled someplace that they loved, bought property with a building already there or built their own, and their vacation destination was set. There are those who simply travel to different destinations whenever they go.
The second part of the vacation involves the activities to do. I realized that for a majority of human beings, I don’t believe that this thinking is exclusive to Americans, having an abundance of activity choices while on ‘vacation’ is a must. A few years ago, Alicia and I were invited to spend a week in Aruba. We were thrilled and excited about the possibility of a week in Aruba. The major problem with Aruba is the activity venue. There is a casino and there is the sea which offers a few water activities. There is a gorgeous beach that one reserves space on to sit underneath an umbrella and drink adult beverages. In contrast, we have traveled a few times to Maui, where there is a variety of activities to keep a traveler busy for a week.
I thought about vacations and REST, and wondered if our idea of rest and God’s idea are even close. For a brief second I thought they might be close, but then realized, ‘not a chance’.
I have to admit that this is one of the few articles I have written where I had to do some digging in the bible to read what God has to say about rest. My first stop was in Genesis 2:3 and the 7th day of creation, God rested. Did God actually need to rest, or was that really for our benefit—to make sure that we understood how important ‘rest’ was? HE then gave us the 3rd commandment, ‘Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy’. Six days for labor, but on the seventh you are to rest.
I went to the New Testament for the next explanations on rest. Jesus beckoned those who were weary that He could give them rest. HE invites us to put on HIS yoke, because it is easy and his burden is light. For those who have any kind of agricultural knowledge, the word yoke should be understood. For the rest, the yoke is a wooden harness that is possibly used in places where there are no tractors and no horses. Oxen are the only animals available to plow a field. A farmer has a carpenter build a yoke that will fit two oxen to plow a field. The carpenter takes measurements of both of the oxen, so that the yoke will fit precisely and the oxen will be comfortable as they plow the field. The oxen are not the same size, and according to research, one will be older than the other to show how the plowing is done.
Am I wearing Christ’s yoke? Am I walking with HIM and letting Him lead the way and following HIS example? That’s what it really means to be yoked with Our Savior, or do I too often—throw that yoke off because my way is better, faster, easier, at least I believe it is.
Where do I find the rest though? I looked again to the Sabbath and realized that the rest I need is in worship on Sunday morning. I sat in church on Sunday and wondered whether I had ever thought of this as spiritual rest. Sleep is the answer for physical exhaustion, but what about spiritual exhaustion? I will confess that I really didn’t think spiritual exhaustion existed until I started writing this. One of the reasons I attend church on Sunday is a recharge for the next week, and then I wondered what kind of recharge do I need? What happens in church, between praising God, listening to HIS Word, and the Sacrament? … REST.
Sola Fide, Sola Scriptura, Sola Gratia ~ Jerry