Resting in God’s Gifts
Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Matthew 11:29
The summer months find pastors, teachers and other church workers scattering to the four winds as they escape the demands of their callings for a few days. For some church workers, those days away are spent doing very little. A chair, a book, a gentle breeze and a cool drink are all that many need. Others spend their time going fast in boats and on roller coasters. For them, vacations are for doing lots of things.
God rested on the Sabbath to set for humanity a pattern of designating time for finding rest in God and His gifts. Vacation and sabbath rest does not mean that we have to do nothing for a day or for vacation. Rather, our Lord invites us to find our rest in Him and His Word, but also in His gifts. The teacher who sits in the boat with a cooler and a bait bucket is finding rest in the gifts of God. The parents who take their kids to camping may not find much physical rest, but they find rest in God and the wonders of His creation, including their children. So whether the rest is in the mountains or on a beach, in the wilderness with no one in sight or in the midst of throngs of people in our nation’s capitol, it is good for us to take time away from the demands of our vocation as workers and find rest in God and His good gifts (Third Article gifts of Word and Sacrament and First Article gifts such as the beauty of God’s creation, art and architecture, food and drink, family and friends).
It is good for church workers to have time of rest so that God can renew and refresh them for faithful service. Ask those who serve at your congregation and school how they have found rest with God and His gifts this summer. Thankfully, that doesn’t mean that we have to do nothing! May God richly bless your last days of July, especially if it is a time of rest for you.
Prayer - May the Lord show you the greatness of his goodness, that you overflow with thanks every day. May the Lord bless you abundantly with rest for the heart, power for virtue, wisdom for life, and patience in suffering. May the Lord bless you with joyful hope, and one day with the inexpressible joys of eternal life. Amen.
Fraternally in Christ,
President Lee Hagan
Thanks to Dr. Joel Biermann for an excellent presentation on work, rest and vocation that shaped some of the thoughts above.