With the academic year coming to an end for most university students, many of us are making preparation for this final stretch before the long semester break starts. It’s crunch time in every undergraduate’s journey as our schedules are filled with deadlines, project meetings, revision, and examinations. With so many things drawing our attention, sometimes, it takes a toll on us as we strive and hustle to finish strong, especially when immense stress kicks in. Fatigue and burnout are very real struggles that many if not all, students face that would make us question this process of university life.
Thankfully, we have our Heavenly Abba whom we can look to in prayer, trusting that He will see us through. As His beloved children, it is important that we know His heart for us as we lean close and abide in Him.
# Thought 1: Your worth is found in chasing after the blessing of the Lord.
Let’s start by seeing the opposite of rest which is hustle and its definition. In short, the hustle is humanity’s quest to transform our time and energy into value, gains, growth, increase or profit. We expect to obtain a desirable outcome and succeed, given the time and hard work that we put into something. In the book of Isaiah, it says that God is the one who teaches us to profit and leads us by the way we should go (Isaiah 48:17). The Lord’s heart is not against gains and profits, but He wants us to go about it in His way. His plan for us is that we may be complete and equipped for every good work as we discern the Scripture that He breathed which is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction and for training in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
King Solomon is known to be called a man of rest (1 Chron. 22:9 & 1 Kings 5:4). As he ascended to the throne, he prayed for and received wisdom and a hearing heart from the Lord (1 Kings 3). During his reign, Israel was in the most prosperous period and King Solomon achieved much more than those before him (Eccl 2:4-10). However, all that his hands hustled and toiled, in the end, he counted all was vanity and grasping for the wind (Eccl. 2:11). The man of rest ended up becoming the king of the hustle life. The moment Solomon started to hustle, he began to look within and was occupied with himself. In the proverbs of Solomon, it says:
“The blessing of the Lord makes one rich,
And He adds no sorrow with it.”
Proverbs 10:22 (NKJV)
rich = to grow, accumulate; abundance (health, finance, relationships, etc.)
sorrow = wearisome, toilsome, stressful painful labour
True riches and the abundant life in God’s economy are not found in the self-occupied, painful pursuit for worldly wealth. The Lord invites us to chase after the blessing of the Lord, the source of all our needs. He loves you too much to leave you in a state of painful hustle and His heart for you is much greater than worldly treasures can offer.
# Thought 2: Rest is not inactivity. It is Jesus-directed activity.
Now, let’s talk about rest! In the gospel of Matthew, Jesus illustrates a picture of His yoke as He calls us to Him, wanting to give us rest (Matt. 11:28-30). The yoke is a tool for oxen to work the fields, so it’s not talking about inactiveness. Rather, Jesus is inviting us to be yoked with Him and learn from Him, just in common practice where a younger ox is yoked with to an older, more experienced ox. He wants us to follow His rhythm of grace as we journey life together with Him. The yoke is a picture of the cross that our Lord has already bore for us and it is a finished work. The Lord cares for us so much and He wants us to be concerned with the things concerning His heart.
# Thought 3: Faith is a Rest. Be rest-conscious, not giant-conscious.
In Matthew 6:27-34 (ESV)
27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?g]”>[g] 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
Jesus compared Solomon to the lilies of the field that neither toil nor spin and yet still grew to what they were. Being fully man, as He is also fully God, Jesus knows the struggles and anxiety of the world that we live in. The Lord calls us to have faith and to seek first the kingdom of God of His righteousness and the things that we need shall be added to us (Matt. 6:33).
Faith is believing what God has said in His Word and being fully persuaded by His mercies and grace – faith is having a good opinion of God. The more we discover how good God is, the more we have faith, and we can find rest in His goodness. In the book of Hebrews, Paul talked about the children of Israel who could not enter their rest, the Promised Land, because of unbelief (Heb 3:16-19, 4:1-6). They were so conscious of the giants that inhabited the land that they forgot about God’s promises to them, even though Caleb and Joshua tried to remind them with a good report. Today, our posture of rest is founded in the finished work of Christ. As our High Priest today, Jesus is seated (posture of rest) at the Father’s right hand (Eph. 1:20) and as believers, we too have a portion of rest as we are seated with Him (Eph. 2:6-7). The one thing that we need to labour for is the labour to enter that rest (His rest) (Heb 4:11) as we navigate the obstacles in life.
How To Own Your Rest?
As we read in 2 Timothy 3:16-17, the Lord encourages us to plant ourselves close to the Word of God and feed on God’s truth in the Bible. As we feed on the unshakeable Word, we find spiritual encouragement and growth just like a tree planted by rivers of water (Psalm 1:3). The more you hear and believe in His Word, start to walk in faith and possess God’s promises for you. Our heavenly Father wants to have an intimate relationship with us and allow Him to be involved in our lives. He sees you as His beloved son & daughter that His Beloved One died for. We get to cultivate that relationship by being in the presence of God and our Lord Jesus Christ, through prayer, reading His Word, journaling, worship, fellowship, and so much more. Most importantly, God designed the church, the many-membered body of Christ, for us to be in community and companionship. Community is a place of feeding and growth as believers find Kingdom friends to share and journey life together with.
Written by: Jason, Chemistry year 4, Bread Fish SG