Bella Vista Church of Christ



Randall Caselman

Sabbath Rest?

"And you shall find rest for your soul."


  Soul Rest what is it? God calls it Sabbath Rest. Most people perceive rest as being a behavioral escape from work rather than a condition of the soul. Workers live for the weekend as though the purpose of the weekend is rest. Rest is a principle, not a day of the week.When Jesus spoke of rest, He didn't point to the weekend, a vacation, evenings out, catching a movie, or any of the commonly perceived ideas that we think of today. The Bible has a lot to say about the concept of Sabbath Rest.


• God rested from His creation, not because He was tired, but because He was setting the standard for His creation to follow: “By the seventh day God had finished the work He had been doing; so on the seventh day He rested from all His work. And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it He rested from all the work of creating that He had done” (Genesis 2.2-3).


• Rest became a part of the Law of Moses. The Ten Commandments made resting on the Sabbath a requirement: “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God… For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but He rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy” (Exodus 20.8-11).


• Rest was an invitation from Jesus: “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).


Sabbath rest was made for man, not man for the Sabbath rest. (Mark 2.27).


  The Biblical concept of Sabbath Rest is more than just a day off work. It is an intentional commitment to follow Jesus in rest, relaxation, reflection, communion with God and His creation. We are to rest because God rested. We rest because Jesus believed in, practiced, and encouraged His disciples in this God-like principle: “Come away by yourselves to a lonely place and rest for a while” (Mark 6.31).


Some reasons for rest…


  God created everything with a need for rest and refreshment: “For six years you are to sow your fields and harvest the crops,but during the seventh year let the land lie unplugged and unused. Then the poor among your people may get food from it, and the wild animals may eat what they leave. Do the same with your vineyard and your olive grove. “Six days do your work, but on the seventh day do not work, so that your ox and your donkey may rest and the slave born in your household, and the alien as well, may be refreshed” (Exodus 23.10-12).


  We are to rest from our cares, anxiousness, troubles. God desires that we overcome anxiousness with peace: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4.6-7). It was Jesus who said, “Do not worry about life; God takes care of the birds of the air and the flowers in the field, how much more will He care for you.” Peter wrote of this rest: “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5.7). God stands ready to give us the gift of quiet and stillness: “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him… “ (Psalm 37.7).


  Rest from busyness. “Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, He said to them, ‘Come with Me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest’” (Mark 6.31). I hate it when I find the words slipping off my tongue, “I’m too busy.” Really? Truth is we find time to do what we really want to do. Isn't it time we ask, am I doing the Lord's work, or am I doing busy work? There may be a difference.


Rest from stress. Again, we hear Jesus say: “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” Matthew 11.28-29). Jesus rest. Soul Rest. Sabbath Rest. Rest that only God can give. This is the rest we need. Amen?


  Allow me to share some thoughts from William C. Martin…

If we fill our calendar with important appointments…

We’ll have no time for God.

If we fill our spare time with television…

We will starve our soul.

If we fill our mind with worry about budgets and offerings,

The pains in our chest, the ache in our shoulders, will betray us.

If we try to conform to the expectations of those around us,

We will forever be their slaves.

So, work at a modest pace, then step back and rest.

Doing this will keep us close to God, and more like Jesus.


  Here’s something interesting to try. Review the last three months of your Daily Planner. It will reveal volumes about our spiritual condition, values, fears, anxieties, and ambitions. It will tell us who our boss really is; who is our lover; and the value we place on our soul.


  Listen, if we're working more than fifty hours a week, we’re not doing it for God, no matter how rational our rationalizations. Now is the time to: “Take Time To Be Holy.” "Be Still And Know I Am God." Rest. Refresh. Meditate. Pray. Smell The Flowers.


—Randall Caselman