Learning to rest, even in labor …

Luke 10:41 And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things.

Hebrews 4:9-10 There remaineth therefore a sabbath rest for the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest hath himself also rested from his works, as God did from his.

One of my heroes of the faith, Watchman Nee, once said something profound about entering the rest of God. He said, “Carnal Christians crave works; yet amid many labors, they are unable to maintain calm in their spirit. They cannot fulfill God’s orders quietly as can the spiritual believers… their hearts are governed by outward matters. Being “distracted with much serving” (Luke 10:40) is the characteristic of the work of any soulish believer. They have not yet entered the rest of God.”

Now that Martha is in Heaven (for some 2000 years) I have often wondered how she feels about being an example of distraction and carnality, and to what extent it’s possible to move away from that kind of activity into a place of rest and peace and relationship as we serve the Lord.

The Sabbath is certainly an opportunity to discover and practice the kind of rest and abiding in Yeshua that Watchman recommends here. All of us have experienced “spiritual” activity which is distracted, performance based, and undoubtedly less fruitful and effectual than it could be. But must it always be so? The Lord would not have rebuked Martha if He didn’t hope and expect her to learn from His admonition.

There’s no question that we can learn a more mature way of serving. Mary has shown us the way, and Shabbat is the perfect opportunity to learn it. Sit at His feet, quietly, attentively, and learn of Him. Entering deeply into His rest will change the way you work, all the following week. And by resting well, we improve the quality of our work and even multiply our time. We give, He adds. We divide, He multiplies. We rest, and because of our abiding, He works. Shabbat Shalom!

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