How would you define rest?


When my sabbatical advisor asked this question the first thing that popped into my head was Matthew 11:28-30, “Come to me all you who labor and are heavy laden 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.”

Now one of the things that refreshes my soul is taking time to camp out in a text and see what the words in the original language mean.  As I did this I realized Jesus is giving this invitation to those who work hard and are loaded up, overburdened with ceremony or spiritual anxiety.  To them Jesus promises if they come to Him, He will rest them.  Here rest is something Jesus gives!

But that’s not the only promise.  Jesus goes on to say if we’ll take his yoke upon us and learn from him we will find rest for our souls.  So here rest is something we find!

How do we learn to find rest even when we are weary and burdened?

As we are yoked to Jesus, following Him, doing what He does, closely observing how He does it we have the opportunity to learn how to be like Him, how to be gentle like He is (which refers to an inwrought grace of the soul and the expressions of it are primarily towards God.  It is that attitude of Spirit where we accept God’s dealing with us as good and do not dispute or resist.  It’s where you get angry at the right time, in the right measure for the right reason) and how to be humble like He is (low, not high, particularly of attitude and social position).

Reading this I wonder, could it be I get weary and burdened to the extent I’m not gentle and humble in heart?  Could it be that’s why I need to come to Jesus, submit myself to following Him closely and learn from Him how to be gentle and humble in heart and that makes it possible for me to find rest for my soul?

What’s fascinating is there are two different words used here for rest!!!

The first is anapauo = which means to give rest, quiet, recreate, refresh.

The second is anapausis = rest, inward tranquility while one performs necessary labor!

So as we start our sabbatical I am praying, asking the Lord to not only give us anapauo as we come to Him.  But to help us learn what we need to learn, especially how to grow in being gentle (at peace when things don’t go my way!) and humble (not thinking, “Oh I can handle that! Pile it on!”  Or “But I’m needed to do this!!!” realizing as a human I have limits and learning to live within those!) so that I truly will learn how to find anapausis and have inward tranquility not just while on sabbatical but while performing the necessary labor that awaits in the next chapter He has for me!


note: Greek definitions come from “The Complete Word Study New Testament” and “The Complete Word Study Dictionary” edited by Spiros Zodhiates, published by AMG.


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