Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need. Mark 6:33 NLT
Series: An Invitation to Rest
If you found out there was a burglar loose in your neighborhood, what would you do? Would you lock your doors? Maybe even turn on all your lights and be ready to call 911 if needed? Our natural response would likely be to take precautions to keep prowlers out of our home. If you have ever seen the movie, “Home Alone,” we learn a lot about this from a young boy named Kevin. (Do not try these things in your own home.) We go to great lengths protecting our important belongings from being stolen, often thinking only of tangible things that can be taken or swiped from us. But what about things stealing our joy, our peace, or our rest? As hard as we try to find time to be still and allow God to restore us, there are circumstances and other pressures tempting us to skip our much needed Sabbath.
Today, though we are free from the law through Christ, we still have the tremendous opportunity to choose to rest in God. Trusting Him for provision, having hope in Him during trials, casting our anxieties upon Him, or taking time to sit in His presence are all ways we can choose rest. So, what steals this from us? Or a better question is, who steals this from us? Think about your day. Do you run from one thing to the next? Do you leave any margin in your schedule for a deep breath? We can blame our “to-do” lists but aren’t we the ones creating them? We want to feel refreshed and energized, yet we keep “doing” in our own strength instead of drawing close to our Savior for a refill.
Let’s look at Luke 10:38-42:
As Jesus and His disciples were on their way, He came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to Him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what He said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to Him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
Have you ever hosted a dinner party? Felt the pressure to make sure everything was perfect? Everyone had what they needed? Ever want to call in reinforcements to help you? I relate to Martha. Maybe you do as well. I don’t care much for the bad rap she gets in most sermons. But, here we are. Martha invited Jesus into her home, but His presence didn’t stop her from doing all the things she felt were necessary. Mary, her sister, dropped everything and sat at His feet. The temptation to focus on the “to do” just as Martha did is real. Jesus reminds Martha what is truly needed—indeed, only one thing—and that is to sit with Him and learn from Him. Are you in need of that reminder today?
To enter rest with Jesus, we must prioritize Him. It takes intentionality to put Him above all the commitments we have on our calendars. It doesn’t necessarily mean we have to sit still. We can absolutely meet with Him while we go through our day. The difference is, He is our focus, not the activity. We take our hands off of our list and we take a moment to rest in Him. We include Him in our decisions and allow Him to direct our steps. Seeking Him will always be the better choice. Throughout scripture, He reminds us of this one thing:
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. (Deuteronomy 6:5 NIV)
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. (Mark 12:30 NIV)
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. (Matthew 22:37 NIV)
By choosing to seek Him first each day, your distractions will become less, your body more rested, your calendar lighter, and your mind more peaceful. Who wouldn’t want that? Before you get too far into your week, think about the things on your list that might steal away your precious time with Him. Guard against them. Make seeking Him your daily “do” and then, as He ordains your steps, walk forward rested and ready.
Holding Fast to Hope,
Scripture References: Matthew 6:33, 22:37; Luke 10:38-42; Deuteronomy 6:5; Mark 12:30