Give me a word, Lord: REST

Matthew 11:28-30 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Mark 6:31-32 Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place.

Hebrews 4:9 There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his.

Rest…well that is a four letter word that we need to talk about! I an advocate of rest, but I haven’t figured out how to obtain rest most days. On the days that I work the clinic, I get up at 5:30 am to feed bottle babies (coatimundi babies at the present time), read scripture and write my daily devotional, get dressed, and rush off to work, and dive in head first to the chaos. I work in a busy immediate care/family clinic, and we generally don’t have a lot of down time. I leave shortly after 7:00 pm, and rush home to Hodge Critter Lodge. My sweet husband has generally already prepared supper and fed the critters. We sit down and share a sweet, savory meal together, and then do any other task that we haven’t yet been completed. Before we end our day, however, we sit down together at the table and read the Bible. We are reading through the Bible in a year again, and it’s so much fun to do this with my husband. I usually try to get to bed by 10:00 pm, and I’m always asleep before Jeff.

I work Monday – Wednesday in the clinic, so that leaves a lot of time off for me to rest, right? Wrong! In fact, I think I work much harder on my days off than I do on my days on. We have somewhat of a zoo around here. There are always animals to tend, bottle babies to feed, and stuff to be cleaned….lots and lots of stuff to be cleaned! Yesterday, on my day off, I got up early to go with my sweet mother-in-law to Covington, LA to pick up her vehicle that had been in the shop. I followed her back, stopped by my house to feed babies again, and then headed over to the rent house which we are preparing to sell. We have had construction people in doing a lot of necessary repairs and upgrades, and those dudes left that house in a mess. My precious mother-in-law and grandson joined me, and we cleaned that house from top to bottom….literally. We washed walls, baseboards, swept and swept and swept, and mopped and mopped.

I finished up about 5:00 pm, and as I was taking my cleaning supplies out of the car while my dogs were outside pottying, I caught a glimpse of a raccoon out of the corner of my eye. It was climbing a magnolia tree at the corner of the house. He scurried right up that big old tree, and he perched himself on a branch (see the picture above), and he rested. That little raccoon stretched out and reclined on that limb like he belonged there. I stopped and took photos and talked with him for a while. He told me with his eyes that he was a tired raccoon. Yes, he looked tired and weary. We had a little chat about being tired and needing to rest. We talked about being tired of COVID 19, tired of politics, tired of people being ugly, and tired of the chaos of life. For a few minutes, I wished that I was that little raccoon, perched up there safely on that limb away from the chaos of life. How do we achieve that level of rest?

Have you ever noticed that although Jesus was a very busy man, He never seemed hurried? He always knew when to serve, and He knew when to get away. He would go from preaching in a synagogue to casting out a demon to healing a sick friend to ministering to the whole city gathered at His door at sundown. I thought my life was busy! He did all of that in just one day, but the very next day, “very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” Mark 1:35. He got away from all of the chaos, and He prayed! After pouring Himself out to others, ministering, preaching, teaching, and serving, He got away from all of the chaos, and He left the crowds behind and spent time with God.

Jesus also knew that His disciples needed to rest both physically and mentally at times, and Mark 6:31-32 gives us an example of a time he encouraged them to rest. Jesus understood our human need for rest. In Matthew 11:28-30, He tells us come with Me. I’ll show you how to do this thing called rest. Watch how I do it. Follow my example. I’m not going to put anything too heavy on you. I’ll keep your burdens light. Come rest with Me.

The prophet Jeremiah said it best in chapter 2:25 “Slow down. Take a deep breath. What’s the hurry? Why wear yourself out? Just what are you after anyway?” We are supposed to be chasing Christ, yet we expend all of our energy on things of this world. Oh, we still have to do those things. We have responsibilities in life. Jesus understands that too, but He also wants us to follow His example and get away from it all , find a quiet place, and just spend some time resting and reclining in the arms of our Father.

My little raccoon buddy is still in that tree this morning. I’m sure he had a busy night foraging for food. The cats bowls were empty this morning, so I know he isn’t hungry. He has a pretty nice shady spot to rest here in the middle of our eighty acres, and he has a whole creek full of water in the back yard to drink from and play in. Yes, he has it made in the shade. I’m going to try to take some lessons from him, I’m going to take some time each day to just recline and rest in the presence of my Father. How about you?

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