Happy Labor Day!
What does that even mean? In my research of Labor Day, in the midst of some confusion, I did find this line in the 1864 Federal Law that simplifies it for me, “the day celebrated and known as Labor’s Holiday.” While the law is talking about Labor Unions taking a day off, I think we can make the case for people in general taking a rest from their labors spiritually as well.
“Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30 KJV)
Jesus makes it clear that He is the person and the place to find true rest. In the Greek language, heavy-laden literally means, “to work to exhaustion.” Many times, I think people (including me) have worked in the flesh to reach God. This is called false religion when we try to reach up to God through our works instead of allowing Him to reach down to us with His grace. We have tried to do all the right things, in exactly the “right” way as we see it, and even for the right reason (to know God), but we have failed to come to God by the one Way that He requires us to come. All of our labor in our own strength has caused us to become utterly exhausted and discouraged with life and with God. But our Creator had a plan through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross that is so simple even the youngest child can accept it: we come TO Jesus, THROUGH faith. Period. Just believe. Through believing in Jesus (the Way, the Truth, and the Life), we find rest for our souls.
What’s faith got to do with it?
The last two verses of Hebrews, chapter 3 say this: “And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who were disobedient? So we see that they were not able to enter because of unbelief.” We see that a lack of faith (or unbelief) and disobedience are synonymous. In light of that, the first two verses of Hebrews 4 makes total sense when the writer says, “Therefore, let us fear if, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any one of you may seem to have come short of it. For indeed we have had good news preached to us, just as they also; but the word they heard did not profit them, because it was not united by faith in those who heard.” (Hebrews 4:1-2)
Diligent to enter His rest?
“For He has said somewhere concerning the seventh day: ‘AND GOD RESTED ON THE SEVENTH DAY FROM ALL HIS WORKS’; and again in this passage, ‘THEY SHALL NOT ENTER MY REST.’ Therefore, since it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly had good news preached to them failed to enter because of disobedience….” (Hebrews 4:4-6) We see here that God is our example of rest, and the WAY to enter that same rest is through faith in Jesus. In the next few verses, the answers to these questions are made even clearer: What kind of rest is God talking about? How do we acquire this rest? “So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God. For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His. Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience.” (Hebrews 4:10-11) Remember, unbelief and disobedience are synonymous. The “works” that I believe God is talking about in this passage are our efforts in our own strength to reach God through our own labor. I believe He’s telling us here that the only way into His rest is through faith. Yes, we will still do physical labor, but spiritually we are in a perpetual rest or sabbath through the gift of grace in faith.
Rest from our physical and spiritual labors
Let’s celebrate those who work today. If people don’t work, then America will literally come to a screeching halt. We NEED workers, no question about it, so let’s celebrate the American worker on this Labor Day.
But let’s also remember the price that Jesus paid for us so that we can rest from our spiritual labor, go straight to God, and find rest for our weary and exhausted souls by faith in Jesus alone.
Shalom to you and yours,
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