Saturday, September 20, 2008

The Kingdom is Coming...

Rest is a short commodity at my house right now.

Baby Isaac is still living the Rock Star lifestyle: Up all night! Sleep all day! My older kids are starting to feel the crunch of getting up to ride the school bus with me every morning. So this week while I was having some prayer time, it is no wonder my thoughts went to Jesus' words in Matthew 11: "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."

But as I read the rest of that chapter, I started to realize some things about what Jesus was really saying. He said this after addressing the followers of John the Baptist, who was in prison wondering if he had done all of his ministry in vain. And Jesus also says this after doing a bunch of miracles in all these cities and having virtually no one change their lives because of them. And so I began to realize Jesus wasn't saying, "Come to me and rest and things will get better."

One of the central messages of Jesus and ultimately the whole Bible is There Is Another Way to Live!

Jesus calls this the kingdom of God.

And He says that this kingdom is available forever for all who choose it - choose His way. But He also says it is here now.

Which is why alot of people thought Jesus came to overthrow the Roman Empire.

And why alot of people think that if you follow Jesus everything will be peachy keen in your life. You know, no troubles.

For me, the concept of rest brings up visions of leaning back and sipping some sweet tea after successfully finishing a task. I'll be able to rest after I finish that project or complete that course or change the diaper. But what if Jesus is saying you can rest - not because of your ability to successfully complete a job - but because of your trust in Him to complete the work.

And what if the kingdom of God taking place here and now is all about followers of Christ living like we really trust Him to do what He says: To forgive us of our sins. To defeat . To turn this world - it's ways, it's problems, it's selfishness - right side up. Despite the fact that some of those things aren't complete yet?

So let me know what you think. What does it mean to rest like Jesus tells us to? What is the kingdom of God all about? How do we trust God despite our circumstances? Can't wait to read your thoughts.

God Bless. -Mark


Nathan Stitt said...

I think you've got it right. We need to choose to let go of the cares that this world brings. Stop stressing about money and schedules and approach things more simply. Quit being selfish and try to empathize with the needs of others. It's hard but even the little that I have tried to do this has completely changed my outlook on life in the past year. Nice post.

Anonymous said...

Congrats on the birth of your newest family member I hope that Mom is doing well.
Jesus wants us to rest in him. Most people do miss this but instead look for happiness. Christ never says you will be happy. He says you will be at peace. This will last if you forget your worries and rest in him.
Also, have faith in the fact that his rest lasts forever, not just 8 hours or so. If you're lucky to get that much sleep