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The Most Restful Work–Pastor Paul Linzmeier

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Ever been in a conversation with someone and when they tell you what they do for a living, it sounds like the best gig in the world? We all have “that” job that we fantasize about and have the tendency to compare others’ jobs and corresponding perks, looking for the most restful work with the greatest reward. However, pursuing that goal is vain hope and eventually leads to people getting just plain worn out, going from one job to the next, ever weary and never satisfied. So people tend to “live for the weekend,” or for the next vacation, or hopefully early retirement, where we don’t have to “work.” Hurry here; be busy there; hopefully then we can finally rest. This way of thinking is built into our human DNA and culture; except that’s a very earthly-minded striving for a faux rest. In reality it’s our weary souls that long for rest more than our bodies. Jesus says, “Come to me all who are weary and I will give you REST.”  As Christians, no matter where we are or what we are to do, there is, even now, a rest offered to us, and a restful labor for each one of us, and it is received as we COME to Jesus. Now before we can talk about a work on earth that is restful we must first set our minds on a work already done on our behalf–a work that was anything but restful; rather it was the greatest display of sacrificial love. Romans 5:6 “…Christ died for the ungodly” and 5:8, Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”  Do you see it? Justification by faith results in peace with God through Jesus Christ. It was His work that brought us peace–or, you could also say, rest to our weary and troubled souls. Though as believers we know this good news, we still battle the tendency to do some kind of work ourselves to experience rest.

One epistle that comes to mind that speaks into this earthly-minded tendency of working for rest was written to the Galatians who needed to be lovingly rebuked when they turned and began to put spiritual stock in obedience to laws and work of their hands in order to experience that peace and rest in their souls. This was backwards thinking and foolish. Paul says in chapter 3:3, “Having begun by the Spirit are you now being perfected by the flesh?” Essentially he is asking, “Are you seeking to do the work that Christ has already done for you?”  Paul writes of himself later in chapter 3:19-21, “For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me.” This is the believer’s confession: my soul can have rest as I come to Jesus by faith in His finished work. My old, vain striving is crucified and my life lived now is unto God as Christ lives in me. 

How often, though, do we neglect to come and are tempted to look for this rest for our weary souls by “working,” similar to the Galatians’ mindset. Instead of holding fast to the gospel of grace, the Galatians began to give themselves over to a dangerous work that is lived by the flesh rather than by the Spirit. They needed to be pointed back to trust in Christ’s finished work on their behalf, His righteous sacrifice, His free gift of forgiveness by His shed blood, and to be exhorted to life by faith so that in their inner being they could truly rest. Chapter 5 begins with, “For freedom Christ has set you free; stand firm therefore and do not submit again to a yolk of slavery.” Christ didn’t free us so that we go back to working to obtain that rest, but he freed us from the work we could not do, so that we could freely worship and serve Him from a position of rest, giving us freedom to serve Him as the Holy Spirit leads us to do. Thank you Jesus! Doesn’t being reminded of these truths make you want to serve Him all the more freely and joyfully? Maybe you’re not there right now, maybe your soul is weary and tired and you find yourself thinking, if only I had a different job, different lot in life or season of life, maybe if I just do more of this thing or that thing, maybe if I could just overcome this weakness, then I could experience that deep rest for my soul. Oh weary saint, our truest rest is in the Lord Jesus.

Certainly there are moments in life where routines need to be adjusted so as not to exhaust ourselves and become unfruitful, but I want to highlight that in spite of whatever our circumstances may be, we look to Christ from whom we receive life-giving strength to trust in His finished work and respond by faith, walking in freedom by the Spirit.  So, even now, from a position of deep rest in our soul, God grants help through the Spirit to walk in the good work of gospel ministry, even in your workplace, in the business of parenting, the mundane, the wild, the crazy, the painful, the quiet and the slow moments. Rest in the truest sense from any weariness is experienced and has its effect on us as we behold our once crucified, now risen Savior, freely serving Him. So fellow Christian, you DO have the best “gig” with the greatest reward. Stop looking elsewhere.

Resting in Jesus with you,

Paul