Labour Unto Rest

  • Feb. 11, 2008
  • #6726

Joni is invigorated in knowing that her labours here will produce rest in heaven.

I was reading in Hebrews chapter 4 last night and I came across a verse that makes me smile every time I read it.  It's the 11th verse and it says, "Work to enter that Sabbath rest."  I think another translation puts it "Labour to enter that rest."  I smile because you normally would not put those two words together:  work and rest.  But the Holy Spirit didn't seem to mind.  He knows that diligent labour in the kingdom of Christ is the only way to enjoy rest for your soul. 

I'm sure that's why I enjoy diving into the day, whether it's opening up my heart to you on this radio program, or maybe it could be visiting a local convalescent center - my friend, Rainey, and I are having dinner tonight with an elderly man at a nearby nursing home.  I like diving into plans for Wheels for the World trips, or going to our Family Retreats, or counseling a quadriplegic mother, recently injured and struggling with questions.  Friend, I just love labouring in the kingdom. 

And no matter how busy I am, always in the back of my mind there's this consolation that soon my labours will be over.  And I'm convinced our labours down here on earth will, in fact, make that heavenly rest all the more pleasant when it arrives.  Someone has said that, "Christians who choose not to work now, shall not rest hereafter."

It's an important bit of counsel to remember, isn't it?  In our culture of comfort we tend to go for the middle road...  we tend to head for the mediocre... we go for that which won't demand too much of us... work that won't ask or ask until it hurts; we shy away from labour that intensive, and we would much really rather settle into - and settle for - ministry that is minimal.  And before you know it, we've become spiritually flabby. 

It's why Amy Carmichael is such an inspirational role model for me.  She was a British missionary in the 1800's who left her homeland to labour for the Lord in India.  And believe me, it was rigorous, it was demanding, it was hard.  But Amy's consolation was that soon she would enter the Sabbath rest of heavenly repose.  She wrote these powerful words, "We shall have all of eternity to celebrate the victories, but only a few hours before sunset in which to win them." 

Boy, that invigorates me and I hope those words inspire your labour today.  We will have all of eternity to celebrate the victories, but only now, right now before the sun sets, in which to win them.  Friend, God has a marvelous rest ahead planned for you.  And until then, in the words of this old hymn, "Work, for the night is coming, Under the sunset skies; While their bright tints are glowing, Work, for daylight flies.  Work till the last beam fadeth, Fadeth to shine no more; Work, while the night is darkening, When man's work is o'er."

©  Joni and Friends

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