What Kind Of Reward Are You Seeking?
Good Morning Friends,
The ability to calm the soul and wait for God is one of the most difficult things in a Christian life. It seems that it is so much easier to worry than it is to worship, to be restless and even reckless than to rest in the prize and plan God intends for us to both claim and obey. What Kind Of Reward Are You Seeking?
Scripture: “But to what will I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to one another, ‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we wailed, and you did not mourn.’ For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon’; the Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.”
At that time Jesus said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, 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 11:16 – 19, 25-30 (NRSV)
Remember the sabbath day, and keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work. But the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God; you shall not do any work—you, your son or your daughter, your male or female slave, your livestock, or the alien resident in your towns. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but rested the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day and consecrated it.
Exodus 20:8-11 (NRSV)
Message: Here is the truth…There is no short cut to love. It takes time. Only when we act from a place of rest are we prepared to act in the right way. Thoreau called it productive idleness. You see rest is vital to our spiritual, physical and emotional lives. It is essential to our effectiveness. Follow the divine model. God rested after He created. Jesus recharged His spiritual and emotion and physical batteries when he walked the earth. Jesus prescribed time off for His disciples. We too need to rest… Let us remember, even as we rejoice in his gracious forgiveness that there is a purpose in taking a vacation. We are to be rejuvenated. We are to drink from the fountain of rest in the rhythm of life God intended. We are to relax in the redemptive love that calms as we are showered in His blessings and rescued from death. So friends, find a sinner’s rest and let Jesus carry your heavy burdens so you might have salvation. Find a saint’s rest of communion with God as you rejoice that you have been rescued from tears because you obeyed the key to a relationship of love with God. The Fourth Commandment sets the tone but today’s scripture in Matthew presents an even better way. Here we are freed to come to Jesus, freed from even the heavy burden of the law and religion, freed to be motivated and respond with our full effort. We live in a tense, uptight and fast paced world and may also face a heavy burden of religion and family as well… a heavy burden to produce at all costs. The combined affect can be very unpleasant if priorities are out of order. Today we learn that we can find rest in the Lord…rest not found in the church… rest not found in work or family but rest found in relationship with Him who hears the voice of the Father. Instead of working to find rest we can work out of the rest we find in Jesus. In Christ, we are completely forgiven… absolutely accepted and totally loved…. So each day we put on the yoke of His friendship…each day we respond to His gentle voice…each day we grow more mature in the faith we realize that the real work has already been done… we just need to join Jesus in the joy of His purpose. What Jesus promises to those who seek is ultimately a rejoicing in God. Yes, we enjoy the gifts. We treasure them. We exult in them. We give thanks for joy, and peace, and answered prayer. But the real business of life is in seeking God and finding this divine presence. The infinite potential of human work is only realized with God when we are not at earthly work. Only then is it properly productive. What we are to seek is the ecstasy of Christ.
Pray we are inspired by the great invitation and realize its reward is what we all are to seek. Pray we discover the rewards of prayer and compassion for those in need. Pray we honor Christ in our relationships and love with abandon. Pray we discover the rewards of hospitality and endurance and quality and faithfulness. Pray that we give up our way of self, for His yoke and His way. Pray that we would be connected to Jesus…to follow His lead and complement His power, as we learn to cooperate in His work and find rest when His strength is combined with our obedience. Pray that we find rest for the stressed in a relationship with Jesus.
Pray we seek rewards not for our own sake but seek them in God as a fruit of our relationship with the Divine. Pray
that we shed the burdens we should shed. Share the burdens we should share and shoulder those burdens we need to shoulder. Pray that we help to restore those who have faltered in the faith though the patient, kind and loving acts of Christian friendship. Pray that we not be tempted in the process but do what is noble, right, lovely, praiseworthy and excellent. Pray that we have compassion on others and when the relationship gets time consuming, expensive and just plain hard, know that it is Jesus we serve and whatever burden we are carrying, He is there yoked to us teaching us and lightening the load.
Pray that we help to restore those who have faltered in the faith though the patient, kind and loving acts of Christian friendship. Pray that we not be tempted in the process but do what is noble, right, lovely, praiseworthy and excellent. Pray we pray without pride. Pray we pray seeking God’s person, presence, pardon, provision, and purpose. Pray we not play at religion observing life but become actively engaged in it. Pray we develop a sense of wisdom and history on our vacations this summer.