In the Bible, there is a very telling verse that needs consideration and quotation in these times. “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens” (Eccl 3:1). King Solomon the Wise writes this at the fag end of his life, as part of his summation of the affairs of men and Heaven’s impact on it.
We live in very unstable times, seasons in which we haven’t a clue as to what will happen next or what disaster will strike. Life that used to be predictable has changed to being uncertain and so the plans we make must be tentative only, and contingent upon day-by-day events.
When we look at and consider both these aspects, viz. the instruction in Ecclesiastes and the times we are living in, we need to do one thing—cultivate and live in an attitude of rest. If we don’t, we will sink and be submerged, lost and floundering in this world of uncertainty and randomness.
This brings us to the question of how to cultivate such an attitude of rest and what does rest really mean.
Rest is not just sleeping or sitting back—important for physical well-being; or taking a vacation—necessary for family bonding; or holiday—pertinent to prevent burnout in work. True rest goes beyond all of these which are imperative to physical well-being, and is crucial to enjoying abundant life in Christ.
Real rest is to be the way Christ lived while on earth, so much so, even faced with the most dreadful circumstance in his short life—the crucifixion and the events preceding it—he never lost his poise. Though he knew he would be undergoing the most terrible torture, worst ill-treatment, greatest misunderstanding, and horrible rejection by His own people, He could still say: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (Jn 14:27 NIV). Such equanimity and magnanimity in the face of adversity, what wouldn’t we give for such calm functionality!
How was Jesus, man though he was, able to exhibit such supermanhood? It was not because he was divine by origin and birth, but by his understanding, as a man, of his standing with God and his grasp of what he came to do as man, both His calling and his work.
Jesus lived in perfect comprehension of God as His Father and in perfect awareness of God as His Master.
- As a son, he knew he lacked nothing and therefore, lived in perfect confidence of being provided for by his father God.
- When in need of food, he looked to his father to multiply what he had and supply the need (feeding of the multitude in Matt 14).
- When in danger, he slept in perfect peace, rising up to rebuke the winds and waves with perfect composure of being his Father’s son (Luke 8).
- When he saw others struggling, he walked on water and enabled another to do the same (Mark 6), because he knew Whose child he was.
- When threatened, he simply refused to give way to fear, knowing his time was determined by his Father God, not by men (Jn 8).
- When his time did come, he knew no hesitation to do His will, for he knew his Father’s agenda (Jn 13).
- As the servant of a great Master, he knew he owned nothing, yet was His steward to do what He bid.
- He was accountable for all that He did and conscious of what was expected of him.
- He willingly went about doing everything to please his Lord, with no personal agenda except to bring glory to His Name.
- He looked to his Lord in everything and walked in total dependence on His leading, never moving out on his own or doing things by himself.
- He constantly demonstrated that he does the will of Him who sent him (Jn 6) and did not seek his own glory, only the glory of Him Who sent him.
- He lived in submission, unwilling to do anything by himself, but only what he saw Him do (Jn 5).
- He walked in total obedience to his Lord, humbling himself to the uttermost, even to death on the cross, though it was hard for him (Lk 22).
- It was because of his perfect stewardship that His Master was able to entrust Him with great power, even to rebuke the elements of the air and endow him with enormous authority even over demons.
These two inward postures and related outward actions enabled him to walk and live in perfect rest and peace.
He had such quietness of spirit that he could offer his rest to others (Jn 14:27). He was never anxious or hasty or fearful or disturbed, and therefore, could give a call to be free from burdens and loads (Matt 11:23). He gave a simple solution to those who were struggling with stress—take my yoke upon you, meaning, just accept my way of thought and adopt my way of life, to enjoy a relaxed and abundant existence
Jesus lived His life as man on earth demonstrating what it means to be true man and how to live as man in relationship with God. He exemplified how a person can and ought to live on earth with an understanding of their position as a child of God and as the servant of the Most High. The situation around was full of unrest and the times he lived were full of uncertainty. Yet, he lived and worked in the knowledge of Who was with him.
He was both son and servant at the same time, both positions kept in tandem composition not in opposition or competition of being!
Called to follow and imitate him, may we learn to walk over the waters of life and not be submerged by or drowning in them!
Peace be upon us all.