Scripture: Mark 2:23Mark 3:6

Lament: Where am I ignoring Jesus’ invitation to rest?

Take It Further: “Say “Yes” to the Rest” by Terre Lucas

“Then he spoke to the people: ‘What kind of action suits the Sabbath best? Doing good or doing evil? Helping people or leaving them helpless?’ No one said a word” (Mark 3:4, msg).

Writers of “Take it Further” receive a scriptural or topical prompt shortly before we are to write. The prompt guides us in praying that we may write a sincere and timely reflection of the message we hear. In preparation for this week, I received the word, “Sabbath,” an area in which I’m currently experiencing challenges. However, armed with that awareness, I was open to this message until I heard the phrase, “deep soul rest from my striving.” My prayers had been drawn toward “doing good” as Jesus demonstrated in Mark 3:4. I could receive correction on evaluating or prioritizing my Sabbath activity, but not rest! I thought, “Pastor, Wes, you are asking way too much of this creative.”

As I listened, a previous season came to mind where I lost sight of the purpose of Sabbath. During that time, my striving to serve others overtook my desire to spend Sabbath time with him. Sometimes, not surprisingly, those virtuous deeds were little more than my reimagining the most suitable undone task from the previous six days. I justified it as being benevolent-worthy and shifted it to my Sabbath. Nothing like conducting service as a part of my Sabbath to show the love of Christ in action. Yes, God must have been pleased with my doings.

Sabbath, done. Check that off the list. Goodnight.

Novelist John Barth even affirmed this human tendency when he said, “Everyone necessarily is the hero of their own life story.” Hmm, sometimes looking in the mirror can be tough. Let me be clear: I do know there is only one hero in my story, and that is the Triune God.

So how could I get so far off track? That’s important to know because if I’m not careful, it can happen again. While the more exciting parts of the Bible are about signs and wonders and miracles (“big” things), Jesus’ primary responsibility was to teach. Having done that which he’d been directed to do, he went off to spend time with his Father.

Isn’t that a tremendous gift?

What more excellent rest could we possess?

If integrity is what we do when no one is watching,
what does our handling of the Sabbath gift say to God? …to others?

I can’t view the Sabbath as a separate part of my life. The desire to be with him means I start immediately and with the small things. I’ll make mistakes, but—to the best of my ability—I’ll do what God asks of me. I need to learn to step away, not just on the seventh day, but when I’ve done what he has called me to do. In those moments, I build character. In those moments, he sees me striving for him and the things that only he can give. In those moments, short but sweet, my desire to experience deeper rest in Him grows.

Sabbath is not legalistic; and though forgotten, desiring Sabbath is instinctive to our being. 

I want to say yes to the rest. Not to the tasks on the never-ending list demanding my attention, but yes to the rest that will save me from my own striving. So where am I ignoring the invitation to rest …spiritually? …physically? …emotionally? …mentally? …vocationally? …from self-reliance? …from approval-seeking? …from achievement?

I’ve picked one and will start there. Won’t you pick one and join me?


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