What are the experts telling us about Labor Day and finding rest…
- slow down
- balance your life
- avoid multitasking
- set boundaries
- just say no to guilt
- come up for air
- block time for relationships
- gain deeper insight
- celebrate Labor Day
Find rest in The Master Craftsman!
“Come to me…
all you who labor…
and are heavy laden…
and I will give you rest…
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…
For my yoke is easy…
and my burden is light.”
Learning from Jesus our Master Craftsman
- We all labor – it’s part of our nature.
- There are many ways in which our labor can become heavy laden.
- Jesus is offering us to take His yoke – a yoke which is easy.
- The Lord desires for us to come and learn from Him.
- He assures us that He is a humble and gentle teacher.
- The lessons we learn from Him will cause our souls to rest.
- He seems to communicate that the way in which he puts the work together means that the yoke is not a struggle, difficult, nor complex.
- And finally, He wants us to know that His burden is actually a joy because it is light.
Jesus and Labor Day…
looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.Hebrews 12:2-3
Do we see the difference?
John Piper, speaking of Jesus enduring the cross and despising the shame, says it this way,
“Listen to me, Shame, do you see that joy in front of me? Compared to that, you are less than nothing. You are not worth comparing to that! I despise you. You think you have power. Compared to the joy before me, you have none. Joy. Joy. Joy. That is my power! Not you, Shame. You are worthless. You are powerless.
You think you can distract me. I won’t even look at you. I have a joy set before me. Why would I look at you? You are ugly and despicable. And you are almost finished. You cover me now as with a shroud. Before you can say, ‘So there!’ I will throw you off like a filthy rag. I will put on my royal robe.
You think you are great, because even last night you made my disciples run away. You are a fool, Shame. You are a despicable fool. That abandonment, that loneliness, this cross — these tools of yours — they are all my sacred suffering, and will save my disciples, not destroy them. You are a fool. Your filthy hands fulfill holy prophecy.
Farewell, Shame. It is finished.”An excerpt from John Piper’s article entitled, ” What Does It Mean for Jesus to Despise Shame?”
There was no shame in His work/rest!
What do we see in the example of Jesus? In the gospels, we often find him working from sun up to sundown. He is waking up while it is still dark to go to a solitary place to pray and at other times praying through the night. The crowds are pressing in on him. There were needs all around him constantly. Those kinds of daily demands seem overwhelming to us. Isaiah describes him as “a man who was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief, and as one from whom men hide their faces… he was despised and we esteemed him not.” [Isaiah 53:3]
It begs us to ask some hard questions. Why is his compassion for others relentless? How is his joy in serving others seemingly limitless? From where does he derive this all-consuming desire to do the will of the Father? What would compel a man to live this way?
We tend to see work as exhausting and energy-zapping. In contrast, we see rest as life-giving and replenishes our souls. Jesus has a relationship with the Father that turns our common experience on its head. There is no shame in the work/rest He is doing.
Only once do I remember finding him asleep on a boat. Is he resting? Or is He doing something to prove a point about work? While men in their flesh were pulling hard at the oars, he was demonstrating that his trust was not in their abilities to overcome. Is our work derived from a faith that believes even the wind and waves are subject to the Lord?
Jesus never seems hurried, or rushed. But he was always determined, pointed and intentional with every word and deed. The reality is we don’t know the real meaning of work or rest, nor how they fit together seamlessly in God’s economy. We see them at opposite ends of a continuum.
Our Work & Rest are not the same
You and I don’t see our work or sleep as holy, given to us by our heavenly father. We see our work as enslavement. We see our work as part of the curse. We sleep because if we don’t we’ll pass out. We’re spent so we lay down. Many work themselves into an early grave.
Our motive is to figure out how we can work the least, and reap the most – so that we can go and do what we enjoy most. Yet Jesus sees the joy set before him in His work. The King of Kings sees the need of the people and engages in holy work that God has bestowed upon Him. In his work, his soul is at rest.
We see part of His true motive when he describes why He came. Mark 10:45 says it this way, “even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Therefore, when he calls people like you and me and says, “Come to me… and I will give you rest”, he is not asking us to trade labor for rest. He’s saying come and I will teach the most valuable lessons about abundant life – things you and I will employ together for eternity to the glory of God the Father. These lessons express the yoke which he is offering to us:
His service is stewardship.
His rest is redemption.
Repenting to find rest
These actions demonstrate that we view work as something other than a joy to us. Work is something that causes us to be heavy-laden and void of rest. It demonstrates that our work is apart from Christ, that our labor is in vain.
The Joy of being yoked with Christ
But for those who are in Christ, our work represents His redemption. It is no longer cursed but it is now blessed and becomes our joy. Jesus boldly declared, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”
Thinking about His statement we can learn several important truths that cause us to place our trust in Jesus. It also allows us to understand where things went wrong, and who can make them right. Jesus sheds light on the darkness and allows us to see clearly. The thief of our lives is bent on destruction, because of him our labor in vain. The light reveals the savior of our life who is making all things beautiful. Jesus is giving back what has been stolen. He is resurrecting what was dead. Christ is rebuilding what has been ruined.
Checking our motives in where we find rest
Further enslaved and separated from the Creator.
Are we flourishing or still frustrated?
Our Call to Action…
Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord:Isaiah 1:18
though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red like crimson,
they shall become like wool.
But all of that changes when we place our lives in the hands of the Master Craftsman. In His Workshop, he employs tools and skills that bring about the glorious transformation of our entire lives. We find ourselves useful for good works and He leads us in the way that we should go. It is to this end that I believe He has called me to be an ambassador – as if God were making His appeal through me on behalf of men and women everywhere.
If we want to celebrate a Labor Day, let it be the work that God has done through Christ to reconcile men to Himself. Let us all come to the Workshop of the Master Craftsman and surrender our ideas of work and rest into His hands. Let Him teach us to number our days and gain a heart of wisdom. Let Him show us:
why and how we were created! the purpose for which we were created, something that is so inspirational, redemptive and winsome– not exploiting and enslaving. the call that He has on our lives to be holy is awesome – and that through Him, it is not only obtainable but causes us to run with endurance without growing weary or losing heart.
- the joy we find when we discover the good works he prepared for us to walk in, and we start doing them with Him.