The Lord replied, "My Presence will go with you and I will give you rest." Exodus 33:14
Yesterday was Sunday, and a very busy Sunday it was. Actually, the busyness started on Saturday, with a Youth Choir "retreat" to a local amusement park for the day. On Sunday, the "retreat" turned into a "tour" and Jonathan needed to be at church extra early to travel to another church where he and his friends were to perform a concert.
I got Jon all delivered, and settled in to teach my Sunday school class of third and fourth grade students. After Sunday school the girls and I met up to attend the Cove service, a smaller, slightly quieter service that our church offers as an alternative to the main service. However, Shawn and David were on tap to play instruments in the main service, and Shawn was singing special music in the main service with his men's acapella group, "Theophonics."
Laura is in Youth Choir, too, but she was unable to go on the touring part of the tour. She and Shannon teach Sunday school to three-year-olds. Also, she and David had a school commitment after church to play in a concert at their high school. So they had to slip out of church as soon as the sermon was finished, skipping the closing song, and hurry over to school.
Laura and David also got an early release from the school concert, because they had a piano recital at 4:00 p.m. They detoured home to change their clothes, and the rest of us (minus Jon, who was on tour) actually arrived at the recital before they did.
After the piano recital, we all hurried back to our church where we met up with Jon, Laura changed her clothes one more time, and the Youth Choir finished their tour with a concert at home, this time with Laura in amongst the sopranos.
By the time I got home I was exhausted. I was so tired, I threw my back out sleeping last night.
This morning my Bible reading included Exodus 31-34. Exodus 31:12-17 is an exhortation to rest on the Sabbath. I was humbled and convicted at how busy I had allowed myself to become over the weekend, and particularly on Sunday. I know that this busyness is not good for my body or my spirit. God wants us to rest. He commands us to rest. Why can we (I) not remember that His commands come from a heart of love, and that they are good for us? (Deuteronomy 10:13)
Often our busyness becomes a point of pride in our lives. "How are you doing?" someone asks. And we respond with a self-satisfied sigh of pretend aggravation, "Oh, I'm so busy!" It is a quasi complaint; really, we feel validated that with such busyness in our lives, so much we are obliged to do, we must be very significant people indeed.
How beautiful that God's promise is, "My Presence will go with you and I will give you rest." He did not say that He would provide us with a long list of important jobs and social engagements; He said He would give us rest. And this original statement was made to the Israelites after they had sinned by making the golden calf, but now were coming back to the Lord, begging Him to be their leader and not to send them into the Promised Land without His presence. Grace all the way.
It is not only an Old Testament promise, either. Jesus said, "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." (Matthew 11:28-30)
Jesus is never in a hurry, never out of breath, never cross because He has overscheduled Himself, never stressed. As we seek to grow in His likeness, let us remember to try to humble ourselves to a simple life and learn to rest in Him. Let us honor the Sabbath. He is perfectly capable of holding our lives together when we do.