That’s me. That’s me learning a bit about slowing down. See the majority of this week I was quarantined to my house, and this particular couch is my favorite. You may ask, “Whom quarantined you Zach?” Simply put, God.
Yes, I said God. It wasn’t my boss, my coach, this culture or a co-worker, but God. God wanted to get my attention, he wanted me to slow down. See I’ve been going hard, like most of us, for quite some time and it would seem to have caught up with me. It was in this that God got my attention and caused me to slow down. This might make some people squirm a bit, saying that God has made me slow down, but I was reminded of it once again, as I read Psalm 23.
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake. vv. 1-3, emphasis added
I’ve always pondered and wondered about those verses I have in bold font. They are God acting statements, not me acting, but God acting. God makes me rest. God grabs my hands and leads me to quite places and into places of right standing before Him. God brings restoration to my soul. Why does God do all of this? For “His name’s sake.” So that He would be made much of in my life and in this particular situation, through my resting. Really? Can that be true? Can I rest in such a way that God is glorified?
He can be. Recently for the Czech Project I did a ‘foundations talk’ and I included some great stuff from my friends at Soma Communities in Tacoma, WA about our Gospel Identities and Daily Rhythms. You should head over to their site and check out what they are doing! One of the Daily Rhythms is (re)creating, and as I’ve been stuck in ‘my cave’ (i.e. flat) this week I’ve been reminded of what I heard Jeff Vanderstelt, pastor at Soma, share about the Daily Rhythms at a church planting conference here in Czech last fall.
“The Gospel also enables people to truly rest when not working, because they know that God is always working – they don’t have to worry that their lack of work will prevent the world from spinning.”
I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t say that Gospel always impacts the way I rest and I continually need it to. If I don’t believe this Gospel then I will falsely believe that I have far greater control than I can imagine, including far more control in respects to my salvation and the salvation of others. The Gospel should thus enable me to rest knowing that everything, everything is under God’s providential hand, thus enabling me to rest. There’s a bit more…
“Because God has accomplished everything necessary for our justification and is the one who will finish the work He started in us, we can rest. Whether working, playing, sleeping or creating – we rest in His work and His abilities and His power. Our rest then is not only a result of the Gospel, but a demonstration to the world not at rest in the gospel.”
I need not try to justify myself through ministry, work, maintaining an image or etc. Ultimately, if God has done the work of my justification I can rest and rest well. The question is, ‘Do I (you) rest well?’ Then by me resting well, I can demonstrate that I am not trying to save the world, that I’m not trying to work for my justification, but that I ultimately trust God. Of course, we need to be careful here and not take this to an extreme, becoming passive bystanders, that never do anything more than rest, claiming that God’s a work, therefore I need not do any more than rest. The Gospel calls us to rest and also act, but it impacts the way we rest and the way we act. Do you believe the Gospel this way? Do I believe the Gospel way? May we act with a deep love and boldness like never before believing this Gospel and may we also rest deeper knowing that God is on His thrown upholding “the universe by the word of his power” (Hebrews 1:3). Slowing down….