Let’s talk about rest: Resurrection

We’re morphing #ThinkAheadThursday with the blog series on rest.

The sermon this Sunday will focus on the most exhaustive exhortation on resurrection in Scripture: 1 Corinthians 15.

As I studied this passage, our exploration of rest continued to pop into my mind. This is not a passage on rest, and yet I found it restful. Here’s why:

On Sunday, I’ll be focusing on the final verse of this long chapter: “Therefore, my beloved, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the work of the Lord, because you know that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” This verse comes after a thorough explanation of the significance of Christ’s resurrection and that his resurrection is the first fruit of our own, meaning that we will be raised from the dead just as Jesus was.

Hmm…but with words like “work” and “labor,” this doesn’t seem like the best sabbath rest verse.

That’s fair.

But in order to rest, there must be work. Otherwise, there is nothing to rest from. And if that work, thanks to Christ’s resurrection, is not in vain, then we can rest all the better.

On your sabbath rest day, you can look in two directions: behind you, at the work you’ve done, and ahead of you, at the work that lies ahead. With Christ’s resurrection and victory as a lens, we can look in both directions without worry.

We can look back at our work and think, “That work is not in vain.” Even if you did not succeed, or a project went south, or your week was filled with stress, if we work in light of Christ’s resurrection, our work is not in vain.

Looking back, that helps us rest on the sabbath. We can leave the stress of the week where it belongs: in the past. In prayer, we can imagine placing it in God’s hands and leaving it there.

We can look forward at our work to come and think, “The work ahead of me will not be done in vain, either.” That looming assignment, the difficulties at work that will continue, another week of working from home while keeping the kids occupied. It’s all still ahead of us. If we allow that to worry to creep into our sabbath, we won’t rest. But if we look at it and think, “God will be with me through that,” or “In Christ, that work will not be in vain,” we’ll begin to rest.

God promises that when we rest, the world will not fall apart because the world is in God’s hands – not yours. God creates and sustains life. You can rest. God’s got this. That’s the promise that leads to sabbath rest.

Christ’s resurrection is the ultimate proof of that promise. Not even death or the threat of death can take away our rest. God’s got this. The week ahead of you will not fall apart because you rest. In fact, your rest will prepare you for the work ahead so much more than worrying will. Your rest will remind you that God is with you. Your rest will remind you of the power and victory in Christ’s resurrection. Your rest will remind you that sin and death no longer have any power, that worry and anxiousness will be calmed.

In the long term, Christ’s resurrection frees us from the grips of death. In the short term, Christ’s resurrection frees us from worry. In both, Christ’s resurrection frees us to rest.

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