Keith Hunt - Come And Rest A While #1 Restitution of All Things


"COME.....BY YOURSELVES.....
AND REST A WHILE."

by
Keith Hunt

     It was a Friday afternoon, I was working in the shop when a
lady came by to pick up some keys we had cut for her. We talked
about the weather and the rainy summer we had been having. I
commented it was nearly the week-end and she could enjoy the
sunny days the weather man had predicted we would have. She said
something about "working" and I responded by saying I hope she
didn't have to work all week-end, to which she rolled her eyes
and said, yes she did. I asked what she worked at. She replied
she was an accountant.
     "You are that busy" I asked. With a sigh and a little smile
she said,"I work about 75 to 80 hours a week."
     I blinked my eyes and commented, "Whaaaat are you working
all those hours for?"
     The lady then began to tell me her story.  "Last October I
began to work for one man, then in January he laid me off. I was
not going to let the grass grow under my feet so I began to
establish my own private business, accounting for people at home.
Then the man I had worked for calls me back and I am presently
working for him about 30 hours a week. I also work in a
warehouse. I have three jobs, so it's about 80 hours a week."
     
     We talked a little more small talk and then she went her
way, off to more work I guess.

     As I write this, the Olympic Games are under way, the
Centennial games - 100 years since they were started in this
modern age(1896 to the now 1996). I must confess I enjoy watching
the Olympic Games, all the skill, all the dedication, all the
effort, all the work, all the time it takes to just be there to
represent your country. The Canadian Broadcasting
Corporation(CBC) always gives little 4 or 5 minute profiles of
some of its best competitors(I'm sure other countries do the
same). I find them fascinating. Each athlete in their particular
sport has a unique background, but one thing is common with
all of the very best, for a number of years usually, certainly
for many months prior to the Olympics, these competitors sleep,
eat, and breath, nothing but preparing for their event in these
world famous games. The amount of hours, the amount of time, the
amount of work, during each week leading up to the opening of the
Olympics, that each dedicates to mastering their chosen sport, is
just phenomenal. In many cases it will also be about 80 hours a
week of hard work.

     One young man for Canada who earned a few medals in these
Olympics - a swimmer - certainly worked dedicatingly hard in
preparation for his events. It was his girl-friend who told the
viewers the amount of time each day he spent in practice. She
told us he was up at about 5.30 a.m. each morning, and in the
pool about 7 a.m. He worked till about 11 a.m. then broke for
lunch and a little rest. He was back in the pool at about 2 p.m.
She said no one saw him at home until about 7 p.m. just in time
to eat and go to bed so he could be up at 5.30 a.m. to start it
all over again.

     I have seen people working at many things, some very
charitable and humanly worthwhile causes.
     I have seen some individuals just "work their fingers to the
bone" as we say, in their particular profession.
     I am sure you have come in contact with those people(maybe
you have been one or are one of them) who do NOTHING ELSE but
work, work, work! They never it seems, have time to STOP! They
must always be "on the go" doing this or doing that, just
squeezing the last drop out of every minute and every second
there is in the hour.
     
     We have our alcoholics, we have our cigarette-holics, we
have our sugar-holics, we have our sleep-o-holics, there are
play-o-holics, and yes, you know, we have our WORK - o - holics!
     Just work, work , work, as least sleep as possible, no "fun
and games," no time to "just relax," no time to REST and
MEDITATE.

     Such persons can even get to the point where they believe it
is wrong, and if they are a "religious" individual, even believe
it is sin to "come.....by yourselves.....and rest a while."  The
last thing on their minds would be to take the time to be alone,
to rest, to meditate, to listen to the "still small voice of God"
in the quiet of the country-side, or the quiet of their room with
no radio, no TV, no stereo, purring or blasting away its sounds,
not even the sound of another person to talk to.
     The dedicated, all consumed with their sport, Olympian,
knows the importance of resting a while. The swimmer, the
cyclist, the gymnasiast, the weight-lifter, the long distance
runner, the short distance sprinter, they all know the importance
of "come.... by yourselves.... and rest a while."
     Yet many Christians, many sincere and dedicated followers of
God, can get so wound up, so "busy as bees" for the work of the
Lord, so "into" doing good works towards others(visiting the sick
and shut-ins, jail ministries, this or that volunteer program,
this committee, or that board of directors, writing letters to
here and there, add infinitum) that they just have no time to
rest and meditate. They find it practically impossible to STOP
and see and smell the flowers along the way, to listen to the
still small voice of God.

     REST AND MEDITATION - IMPORTANT FOR SPIRITUAL GROWTH


     Most Christians will if asked the question "What is the
important ingredients for spiritual growth" give the basic ones
as: prayer and bible study. Some may also add fasting. But I
venture to say, very few will put down rest and meditation.
Somehow many have in this fast paced world, come to believe that
rest outside of a nights sleep, is.....well if not sin, then
something not really approved by God unless it is on the Sabbath
day.
     And meditation, well that word today usually conjures up
"far eastern yoga" types with mystic trances and glossy or closed
eyes sitting in some special bodily position on the floor or on a
rock on the top of some hill.

     Many see rest and meditation as the above, not worthy of
much "meditation." It is a sad reflection of a fast living, and
religiously deceived world, some of which if not guarded against,
rubs off onto the children of God.

     "Oh," some will say, "God has given us a day each week to
rest upon. We have the Sabbath day!"
     Such replies convey again the idea that to rest and mediate
upon any other day is ..... not really right to do. For the
argument continues: "The Lord said we should work for six days
and rest on the 7th day only." 
     Well now, did God really say that? Or is not the 4th
commandment just simply pointing out to us THE DAY that the Lord
says is His and so does not belong to us to do "our thing" on, 
what we would like to do in the way of play and work and
pleasure?
     Yes, six days are given to us to do all that we desire to
do(of course within the law of God) - work, play, pleasure. The
7th day does not belong to us, it belongs to the Lord, it is the
"Lord's day"(Mark 2:27). On that day we are not to do our thing,
"our pleasure"(Isa.58:13,14). We are to keep that day as the Lord
instructs us to keep it!

     But we shall clearly see that God does allow, even shows by
example, that it is good to "come...by yourselves...and rest a
while" on other days besides the Sabbath.  Resting and Mediating
is spiritual, and spiritual things can be done on any day of the
week!

     Prayer and Bible study/reading  as well as Fasting are
spiritual things - spiritual work - which can be performed on any
day of the week. So also is RESTING  and  MEDITATING  spiritual
work not limited to just the Sabbath days.

     Even on the Sabbath days many of us, too many of us, have
got into the habit of jam packing  the day with "busy, busy
work."  Oh, it may be spiritual work, at least we console
ourselves that it is, so helping to perpetuate our Sabbath
observance customs and habits. Yet, some spiritual works done to
the detriment of other spiritual works produce an unbalanced
Christian. Paul admonished us to "put on the WHOLE armour
of God" if we wanted victory over Satan, in Ephesians 6:10-20. He
did not say pick of few and make them a habit of putting on to
the neglect of the others. He said we need the whole armour of
God to withstand the devil and his fiery darts.
     God is the most BALANCED being and person in the entire
universe. He observes the Sabbath day in the most complete and
balanced way possible.

     If we are not careful we can get so involved on the Sabbath
days with physical persons and physical "spiritual good works"
that we forget other "spiritual works" such as quiet resting and
meditating alone by ourselves so we may listen to the still small
voice of the Lord wanting to talk to us.
     If we find it hard to do this kind of spiritual work on the
Sabbath, then most of us will find it even harder to fit in
resting and meditating on the things of God, during our busy day
to day work life of the other six days.

     Sometimes our lives are so busy and full (those with family
and children responsibilities will quickly agree) during the six
days that belong to us, we say to ourselves that we only have the
Sabbath to do these physical "spiritual works" on. So we
schedule after church services(those blessed with being able to
attend a congregation) to fellowship with this brother or sister,
visit the sick, write a letter to another church member, take the
family to a picnic in the park, have a family over for fellowship
and dinner, watch this or that Bible video with the children,
read the religious magazines, discuss spiritual issues with our
mate, children or friends. 
     We all do such things on the Sabbath days, and such
activities ARE NOT WRONG TO DO on the Sabbaths, but if we make
them a constant habit and way of life to the exclusion of
personal "come...by yourselves...and rest a while" with God, then
we need to "take stock" - do some inventory taking into HOW
BALANCED are we keeping the Sabbath and our personal spiritual
lives.

     It is possible to be so all consumed with "doing the work"
of God, whatever the work is that you believe God has called you
to do and given you the gifts to do it, that you get the plumb
line off centre, the pendulum swings too far to the right or too
far to the left, and before you realize it you are out of line,
out of balance.
     Even those directly in the ministry and Eldership - who are
giving their time to produce religious radio, TV, broadcasts, or
study articles, conducting church Bible studies, visiting and
counselling people, anointing the sick, must be VERY ATTENTIVE
and circumspect to remember what the early apostles knew they
must not neglect: "...but we will give ourselves continually to
prayer and to the ministry of the word"(Acts 6:4).
     Part of that important service of prayer and ministry of the
word is "come...by yourselves... and rest a while."  It is
finding the time and balance of spiritual life to be alone to
rest in the reading and meditating of the word of the Lord, and
talking to Him and listening to His still small voice.
     Those such as deacons and deaconesses in the church, who
have many small and large physical responsibilities to administer
in much of the day to day running of the local congregation, need
to be ALERT, on guard, and judicious in not allowing their duties
to pull the balance line off course to where too many "good
deeds" smother the life out of the spiritual works of quiet, by
yourself, rest and meditation with God.

                EVEN THE WISDOM OF THE WORLD

     Courses, studies, books, lectures given and written by the
world's great "motivational teachers" to various professional
occupations and managements, all have one thing in common, all
agree that persons in fast driven, high stress, long unusual
working hours, great responsibility occupations, NEED, ON A
REGULAR BASIS, TO TAKE TIME OFF to "rest for a while."
     They advocate "getting away from the rat race" to rest and
meditate, to recharge the physical and mental batteries of the
human body. 
     They say correctly(based upon dozens of personal testimonies
and case histories in doctor's files) that people living under a
heavy and stressful work load or living style, will in time,
short or long, simply "burn out" physically and mentally, if they
do not regularly take "get away" trips to rest and meditate on
the course of life. 
     They say the change of pace, the physical and mental slow
down and relaxation, has as much to do with rejuvenation as any
other factor such as more sleep, different scenery etc.

     They claim that to think you can beat the odds by constantly
working, whatever the work is, even every good deed imaginable to
the mind of man, and not eventually suffer the penalty of
physical and mental "melt down" or worse still ending up in the
mental ward of the local hospital, is just wishful dreaming. Some
get away with it longer than others, but none can escape the hard
reality that comes home to roost in the end.
     It is like the funny but serious joke: I thought I had won
the rat race, until faster rats came along.

     All the people I have met who were very successful at
winning the rat race in life, who could handle and manage a very
busy and demanding life style, had learned many keys to achieve
their victory, not the least one was to make sure they took
regular quiet and meditation times away from the family, by
themselves or just with their mate. The length of time away could
be a day, or days, or a week and more. Even a number of hours
away by yourself in restful meditation can have wonderful
physical and mental benefits if done as a habit and way of life.

              THE TEACHING AND EXAMPLE OF JESUS


     Jesus was filled with the Holy Spirit from conception. It is
written He was given the Spirit WITHOUT MEASURE! He had it to the
FULLEST! 
     John the apostle also wrote: "And there are also many other
things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I
suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books
that would be written"(John 21:25).
     That is another way of telling us that the gospel writers
only wrote down for us a fraction of what Jesus worked at - what
He said and what He DID during His three and one half years of
ministry.
     Jesus was a VERY BUSY man! His work load was immense! And
every bit of it was HOLY, PERFECT, and SINLESS. He worked with
words, thoughts, and deeds that were impeccably PURE and
RIGHTEOUS. He was busy doing and performing the "work of the
Lord" as many would put it today.
     True Jesus was Immanuel, He was God with us. True, He did
have the Spirit without measure. Yet, He was also human. It is
written He was tempted in every point as we are yet without sin.
He needed to sleep at night like the rest of us humans. He
needed to eat food like the rest of mankind. He needed to bathe
Himself to keep clean like we do. He needed to go to the washroom
when "nature calls" as we often phrase it.
     Jesus was not only divine He was also human!

     Christ worked VERY HARD, often for long hours of the day. He
was in the "people business" with every type of person and
personality coming His way for every conceivable physical and
emotional and spiritual need.
     Anyone who has worked for any length of time in the people
business where physical and emotional problems are dominant, will
soon tell you the "draining effect" it can have on you, how you
can soon be "washed out" after a relatively short time. Much
more than working for six or seven hours digging ditches even.

     I once spent many years teaching music full time. Some days
it was six hours straight without a break - one student after
another. I would come home sometimes just mentally drained and
even physically tired. My wife could not understand. I had a
clean, sit down job, fine environment, she could not fathom how I
could be so "done in" and tired, UNTIL I was sick for a few days
and she had to take my place(she is also a musician). Then she
soon learned. A teacher of just about anything, if he/she is
teaching wholeheartedly, can be pretty tired after even six hours
work.

     Jesus was a mighty teacher of spiritual matters to peoples
of all walks of life, and also had a healing ministry to the
sick, and crippled.

     Did Jesus, God in the flesh, a man filled by the Spirit
without measure, neglect the important rule of recharging His
physical and mental and emotional batteries with rest and
meditation in quiet places by Himself?

     No!  Not at all!
                     ............................

End of part one

 
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