“There remains therefore a rest to the people of God
(Heb 4:9).” As the year draws to a close many will be taking holiday trips or be involved in mission-related outreaches, as well as spending time with family. There are needed seasons of stepping away from the daily circuit of life so that allowance can be made for rest, reflection and recalibration. So what exactly is the Rest of God? Let’s consider two examples below:
1) Nehemiah was a leader who came into a position of rest. How was he able to complete the rebuilding of the walls in 52 days while being challenged and threatened by the enemy (Neh 6:15)? He knew his identity and calling; put another way, he stepped into his purpose. He carried the burden of the Lord and experienced favour along the way. Nehemiah effectively conveyed the vision to those under him by bringing each of them into a position of rest as they laboured together.
2) One of the greatest vision-casting messages of all time was given by President John F Kennedy at Rice University on September 12, 1962. This was the speech that put the moon mission on the map. The vision was simple; the objective of putting a man on the moon and returning him safely to earth before the end of the decade. The vision was clearly stated accompanied by a defined timeline. Let’s examine two extracts from the speech.
“William Bradford, speaking in 1630 of the founding of the Plymouth Bay Colony, said that all great and honourable actions are accompanied with great difficulties, and both must be enterprised and overcome with answerable courage. It’s for these reasons that I regard the decision last year to shift our efforts in space from low to high gear as among the most important decisions that will be made during my incumbency in the office of the Presidency.”
President Kennedy was serving notice that this journey would be challenging. Think of the difficulties of the early explorers as they set foot on unknown soil. The “answerable courage” of these men and women helped put in motion the makings of a great nation. The second extract speaks of rearranged priorities for the purpose of bringing together the best of all resources so as to make this heightened vision a future reality. The articulated vision of the President was a challenge the nation was willing to accept and subscribe to. I personally see the above as an excellent example of functioning from a position of rest.
So what does this mean for Cornerstone and the congregation? There’s a purpose and plan that God is calling the church to step into. The modern-day Church is surrounded by voices and demands that have the potential to deflect from God’s appointed course. In today’s fast-paced life, decisions can be made that may be outside the will of God. It’s vital that we allow God to bring us into a place of His rest so that we can hear what the Spirit is saying to the church.
Now is an excellent time to seek to come into that position of rest, seeing that the year is drawing to a close. I believe God will speak to clarify identity and purpose at both a corporate and personal level, provided we incline our ear and attention towards Him. This may result in the streamlining of unneeded baggage that could serve as a hindrance. Will we be open to the Lord’s sword of circumcision? Presumption is not an option!
Time is quickly passing and yet much needs to be done. It’s only from a position of rest where one can know and carry God’s burden. This is accomplished by spending time in His Word and presence where His still small voice can be discerned (Heb 4:12). Will we make the time; will we labour to enter into that position of rest (Heb 4:11)? Will we be willing to come boldly to the throne of grace for help in accomplishing the task that God has placed before us (Heb 4:16)? Cornerstone is being positioned for something far greater in 2017 and beyond. Let’s all endeavour to seek to come into that position of rest.
“For the LORD hath chosen Zion; he hath desired it for his habitation. This is my rest for ever: here will I dwell; for I have desired it (Ps 132:13-14).”