"The Greatest Sermon Ever Written: Rest"

Ah, weatherman... you lied to me... 

You said that it would be a nice, cool, dry Independence Day, and it wasn’t -- it was hot and muggy.  On the plus side, it was still a fun evening spent with the church family (and some new friends from Wisconsin who were just in town for a softball tournament) and a great fireworks display, so Happy Independence Day!

In the service, we reminded everyone that we’re starting our Vacation Bible School next Monday (July 15), so please be in prayer for everyone involved that week.  It’s always a little stressful around here, since so many people are so conscientious about putting so many hours into making it a very special week for our VBS kids who attend -- but this year, it’s even a little more crazy because we changed our theme at the last minute, and we’re having to adapt materials that we can normally just use more or less “as is” in our preparation.  Please pray that everyone paces themselves well, keeps a sweet and trusting disposition, and that we all keep our main priorities our main priorities -- honoring God and sharing Jesus with our VBS kids and their families.  As important as things like decorations and costumes are to creating that experience for our kids, those are always secondary to making sure that we’re presenting God to them in ways that put Him first.

Actually, our message this week was timely in ways that I’d never even considered, when I planned it out back at the beginning of the year, because we talked a bit about the concept of rest.

See, sleep can arguably be seen as a goal, a successful completion, an endgame finally reached... but rest is a mindset, a process, rather than a goal in and of itself.  Too many of us assume that if we can just finish school, or just get that promotion, or just make it to retirement, we can then rest.  But even that list suggests that there’s always something else that we can see on the horizon as a goal to be met.

No, true rest comes from realizing that our true rest comes from God and not from some temporal demarcation.  The Hebrews had thought that, if they just made it to Canaan, they could rest.  But then they saw Canaan and saw that it might be hard to get into, and they didn’t trust God... which is why only two of the original immigrants finally made it in, years later.  But even then, David wrote of the hope entering God’s rest while he was sitting in Canaan, writing Psalm 95!  Clearly, just crossing a border or a marker here or there in life isn’t what “rest” is all about. 

Rest is about trusting that God is doing the heavy lifting -- that He calls us to consciously and actively take part in His work, but that it’s His work that we’re doing, like a toddler helping her Daddy build a shelf by holding the nails for him.  So rather than working like the burden rests on your shoulders, work instead like it’s your job to let God chip away and sculpt you as He sees fit, as the Master Builder... and then consciously and actively live your life like the masterpiece that He’s crafting you into...