May 30, Thursday

Devotional Thoughts for Today

“Rhythm of Life”

Exodus 31:17

“It is a sign between Me and the sons of Israel forever; for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, but on the seventh day He ceased from labor, and was refreshed.”

A major part of my life was spent in the pool. Elementary, junior high, high school, and even one year of college, I swam competitively and played water polo, and the people on my swim team were some of my closest friends. You could say, swimming was life for me. But swimming is also a source of one of my regrets in life.

There is a part of me that believes that I could have30 given more—you know that thought in your mind where you’re really trying but at the same time, you know you’re still holding back a little bit. Whether it be fear or what not, you know there is something holding you back. And I finished my swimming career with that thought lingering in my head, that I could have pushed a little harder, achieved a faster time or accomplished more. This caused me to vow that I wouldn’t make the same mistake in life.

I think I carried some of that mentality into ministry—the idea that if you give more, more will result from it, the more input will result in more output. But I soon discovered as God begin to work through my heart, addressing the insecurities and fears, that ministry—let alone life— doesn’t work that way. Yes, we are called to be diligent, but there is no formula or mechanism that guarantees success.

In today’s passage, we see how the idea of the Sabbath is deeply rooted in the Divine life. A commentator notes that just as God created for six days, resting on the seventh, there is a rhythm to life that is exemplified by God. As we know from the creation account, the work is not fully done—God invites Adam to join Him in the work of naming all the creatures (Genesis 2:20). And yet God sets the seventh day apart for rest.

I think the greater spiritual lesson we can draw from this is not just the importance of keeping the Sabbath holy through rest and worship, but it is a reminder that our lives are meant to become more in sync with God. Just as a musician doesn’t make more or better music by increasing the tempo, we too must remember that in God’s Kingdom, success does not work that way. We are never meant to get in front of God or fall too far behind.

In the Sabbath is a beautiful picture of God and His people, moving through life in synchrony. It is a paradigm shift where the abundant life is not about achieving more but being rooted and in sync with He who is life.

Prayer: Father, thank You that You know us so well. You know our tendencies to want to move ahead of You or behind You. We want to live according to the beat of our own drum. But thank You for the reminder that true abundant life comes from a life that is in sync with You. Help us to live like this. In Jesus’ Name.  Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: 1 Samuel 20


Lunch Break Study  

Read Matthew 11:25-30: At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; 26 yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. 27 All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. 28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Questions to Consider

  1. Before He gets to the section on what our relationship looks like with Him, what does Jesus first establish in verses 25-27? How does this become an anchor to what He teaches us in the remainder of the passage?
  2. If you’ve never seen what a yoke is, take some time to look on Google. Seeing how a yoke works, what insights can you draw upon how this is to be a picture of our relationship with God, especially in light of our reflection today?
    How is your co-laboring with Christ? Are you experiencing the kind of rest Jesus promises? What should your response be?

Notes

  1. Before Jesus offers this relationship with us, He reiterates His relationships with the Father and to whom these things have been revealed. It also establishes Jesus’ authority as all things have been handed to Him. This thus becomes the foundation upon Jesus’ offer of rest to us is established.
  2. One of the insights we can draw upon the imagery used by Jesus is about pace. As a yoke ties two animals together to work together in tilling the field, one animal cannot move in front or fall back behind the other animal without the yoke becoming ineffective. The lightness and restfulness of being yoked with Christ comes with not only learning from Him, but walking in the pace that He establishes for us.
  3. Personal response.

Evening Reflection

As you close off another day, take a moment to “take your pulse.” How is your sense of rest? How might this be a reflection in terms of living according to God’s pace of life? As you reflect, lift up a prayer to the Lord asking Him to help you in calibrating your life to His.

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