Sermon:  Make the Most of Rest


Summary:  The biblical instructions concerning Sabbath are instructive because it is rooted in God's creative work followed by the blessing of rest.  Even though Sabbath days are not directly applicable to Christians, the need for physical and spiritual rest remains so that we can recharge outwardly and inwardly, reflecting on the meaning of our work, the freedom to do so, and strengthen our relationship with God.


Text:  Ex 31:12-17; Dt 5:12-15; Mt 11:28-30


Scripture Reading:  Rev 14:13



1.  Little Jimmy saw his Dad come home with armload of paperwork

          a.  His Dad very, very busy with work, even after he came home

          b.  Mom explained - Daddy has to bring home papers from work because

     he can't get it all done there, so he has to bring it home

          c.  Jimmy paused, and asked, "Can't they put Daddy in a slower group?"

          d.  How true.  Sometimes we need to be in a "slower group"

2.  Bible has something to say about being in a slower group

          a.  Gal 3:24 - Old Testament is our tutor

          b.  Teaches us important lessons about God our ourselves

                    - Learn about nature of sin through the sacrifices

                    - Learn about holiness through kosher laws

          c.  What about the Sabbath?   Hebrew word means "rest"

          d.  ILL:  Has to be time to rest and recharge (battery charger to recharge)

                    - Batteries need to rest to recharge

                    - If not, this microphone would stop working properly

3.  We can learn this from God's instructions about the Sabbath

a.  (Ex 16:22-36) - The Lord has "given" you the Sabbath

                    - It was a gift, designed to be a blessing

          b.  Ex 20:8 - Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy

                    - It was a special day, no person, slave, animal was to work

          c.  Ex 23:10-12; Lev 25 - Even the land was to have a Sabbath year

          d.  Lev 25 - Following every 7th Sabbath year was Jubilee

                    - All slaves go free, and debts forgiven, foreclosed property reverts

                    - Was definitely a time to recharge

4.  Are there more specific things we can learn?

          a.  God doesn't give a consistent reason each time he commanded it

          b.  But looking at the reasons helps us to learn some important lessons

          c.  Rest time was given for several reasons:


I.  To refresh our minds on the meaning of work

          A.  Time to look back on what you have done

                    1.  If constantly working non-stop, hard to do any reflection

                    2.  If never slow down, you wind up going through motions

                    3.  Like a hamster on a wheel.  Just running nowhere, no meaning

                    4.  God said to stop what you are doing on a special day

          B.  (Gen 1:31-2:3) - The original "Sabbath" rest began with God

                    1.  Was God so tired that he needed to rest?  Don't think so

                              a.  "Rest" means to "cease," like a "rest" in musical score

                              b.  Like a builder, architect, artist

                              c.  When work is complete, you stand back and look at it

                              d.  That is what God did, he "saw that it was good"

                    2.  God wants us to do as he did after he worked

                              a.  We are not robots or machines that work mindlessly

                              b.  We are not hamsters on a wheel

                              c.  God created us to think, question, learn, and grow

                    3.  To learn, we need to stop, debrief, reflect, meditate on the

     meaning of what we do.

          C.  ILL:  This is not what most people think of with their "time off"

                    1.  We are an amusement /leisure oriented society

                              a.  We have multi-million dollar parks devoted to this

                                        - Worlds of Fun, Oceans of Fun, Schliterbahn

                                        - Loads of fun at those places

                              b.  There is a leisure industry, amusement, entertainment

                                        - Amusement - What that word mean?

                                        - To "muse" means to think, contemplate

                                        - To a-muse means activity without thinking

                                        - Amusement is not thinking activity, it is simply fun

                              c.  Leisure enjoyable, but it is not same as Sabbath

                              d.  Leisure/amusement is to soul what candy is to the body

                                        - Enjoyable, but not very nourishing

                                        - Irony - More leisure in the U.S., but also more stress

                    2.  Not saying leisure/amusement is bad

                              a.  Good just to enjoy something fun

                              b.  But it is not the same thing as principle of sabbath

                    3.  Sabbath is a spiritual rest as well as a physical rest

                              a.  Suppose to be a time to recharge and refocus

                              b.  It helps us stay purposeful in what we do

                    4.  Sabbath nourishes and refreshes both body and soul

          D.  We need to take time out to reflect on the meaning of our work

                    1.  Spend time in reflecting

                              a.  Why did I do what I did?  Did I do it well?

                              b.  Who was it all for? 

                              c.  What did I hope to gain?  What did I gain?

                              d.  How did it honor God?

                    2.  Questions like these will help keep proper perspective


II.  To reflect on the significance of freedom

          A.  (Dt 5:12-15) What were they to remember on the Sabbath?

                    1.  They were slaves in Egypt meaning

                    2.  God freed them with his mighty hand & outstretched arm

                    3.  "Therefore" God commanded them to observe the Sabbath

                              a.  God wanted them to stop and reflect

                              b.  God wanted them to interpret their work in light of his own

                              c.  No longer were they to work for Egypt, they now belong

                                   to God

          B.  Think about the conditions under which they worked in Egypt

                    1.  They were slaves of the state

                    2.  Cruel taskmasters forced hard labor

                    3.  Had a quota they couldn't meet and were beaten

                    4.  They weren't starving, but they were unhappy with their plight

                              a.  In the wilderness, they remember the food of Egypt

                              b.  They wanted to go back to that plentiful food

                              c.  Archaeological evidence shows that in the slave cities of

                                   Egypt, they had good food to eat

          C.  ILL:  According to a Gallup Poll from June of this year

                    1.  Only 30% enjoy their work, 52% do not like it, and 18% hate it

                              a.  That's 70% who are not happy and satisfied with their job

                              b.  Found that even with perks, employees still not happy

                    2.  Even worse with Japanese

                              a.  Few years ago, statistic said only 17% satisfied with jobs

                              b.  Strong work ethic among Japanese

                              c.  High performers, high tech, produce lots of cool stuff

                              d.  Yet they are not happy.  Why?

                    3.  Perhaps it is bondage to a cruel taskmaster - THEMSELVES

                              a.  Try to find meaning from material success

                                        - Size of paycheck, house, amount of work they do

                                        - Gain position and fame in their company

                              b.  Work so long and hard, become slaves to these things

                              c.  They will beat themselves up if not progress fast enough

                              d.  No wonder there is no satisfaction

          D.  This can happen even to Christians

                    1.  Some Christians became slaves to themselves

                    2.  A periodic true Sabbath helps to reflect on our freedom in Christ

                              a.  God frees you from bondage to serve him

                                        1) He does not tie your value to amount you can do

                                        2) He not a cruel taskmaster with unreachable quotas

                                        3) He met your quota at the cross

                                        4) Our value is tied to his work at the cross, not our

    own work

                              b.  Freed us to serve out of love, not impossible desire to

     "measure up"

c.  With this, you can enjoy time off, enjoy fruit of labor

d.  Can take time to reflect on meaning of this freedom in



III.  (Ex 31:12-17) To renew our relationship with God. 

          A.  God began with "I am the LORD who sanctifies you."

                    1.  He sets them apart as his treasure possession, Ex 19:5-6

                    2.  Sabbath was a time to reflect on their dedication to God

          B.  (Mt 11:28-30) Jesus offers "rest" to those weary and heavy laden

                    1.  Comforting passage if tired, worn out, beat down

                              a.  Jesus said you can come to him

                              b.  He will give you rest

                    2.  So… why does Jesus go on to say to take his yoke and burden?

                              a.  I thought he was supposed to give rest to the weary?

                              b.  Look closer at what he is saying

                                        - Take "my" yoke upon you

                                        - "My" yoke is easy

                                        - "My" burden is light

                              c.  The way we find rest is by taking his burden!

                              d.  What is his burden?

                    3.  Contrast:  Man's burden vs. Jesus' burden

                              a.  Man's Burden - Trying to measure up

                                        - Self worth attached to amount I can do

                                        - If not do enough, I wont measure up, failure

                                        - Ultimate problem is burden of sin - Can't carry it

                                        - However, Jesus took that burden on himself

                              b.  His burden - Helium attached (called "grace")

                                        - That helium came from Jesus at the cross

                                        - My value is attached to his work at the cross, not my

                                           daily grind

                                        - Freed me from the impossible burden of measuring

                                          up, impossible burden of sin

                                        - FREE to serve for no other motivation than love

                    4.  Yes, his yoke is easy and his burden is light!

          C.  ILL:  Brother Lawrence a good example

                    1.  Originally a soldier, then a cook in a monastery 400 years ago

                              a.  A simple person in a simple job, mundane, meaningless

                              b.  For years he engaged in many prescribed practices

                                        - Sense of his own sinfulness, never measure up

                                        - Even though he discharged his duties faithfully

                                        - It took him 10 years, but he finally began to

                                           understand the nature of his relationship with God

                                        - Peace, joy, and love flowed out of everything he did

                              c.  History not remember anyone else in that monastery

                              d.  But they remember the one who cooked their meals

                    2.  People came from all over to seek his guidance

                              a.  He never wrote a book, was just a simple cook

                              b.  But a series of conversations and letters of his preserved

                                   by Joseph de Beaufort in - Practice of the Presence of


                              c.  Brother Lawrence eventually came to understand the

                                   nature of his relationship with God

                    3.  Brother Lawrence said, "We ought not to be weary of doing little

                         things for the love of God, who regards not the greatness of the

                         work, but the love with which it is performed."

                              a. God not concerned with what or how much you do, but

                                  your inner motivation in doing it

                              b.  Remember the widow with two mites?

                                        - Was nothing compared to others giving massive


                                        - But it was significant God

                              c. God concerned not with what or amount, but motivation

                    4.  Result, Brother Lawrence found joy and fulfillment in all he did

                              a.  His motivation was simply to love God

                              b.  Whether it was cleaning dirty dishes or cleaning the floor

                              c.  Result, he found joy and satisfaction in any labor he did

          D.  Maybe this is part of the way to be "refreshed"

                    1.  He gives us the grace to work for no other reason than love

                    2.  This is the right motivation for work

                    3.  Both our body AND soul can be refreshed

                    4.  It can be a time for spiritual renewal and refocus



1.  We still have an ultimate rest awaiting us with God in Heaven.  Are you ready?  (inv)

2.  Do you ever feel like you are on a hamster wheel?

          a.  Maybe you feel like the throttle is all the way open

          b.  Maybe you feel as though you are in a "dead-end" job

          c.  Maybe you feel like you don't measure up, not significant

3.  Take it from little Jimmy - Maybe you need to be in a "slower group"

          a.  Perhaps you need is to incorporate some Sabbath time into your life

          b.  Can rest, reflect, refresh, refocus, & recommit

          c.  If you do this, it can help you to "recharge" inward and outwardly

          d.  Then you can continue to find joy and satisfaction in all you do.

4.  As you enjoy the day off, keep some of these things in mind.