Striving to Rest

By Todd Hill

Have you ever considered the irony found in statements like larger half, act natural, found missing, or jumbo shrimp?  Has anyone ever told you that you are seriously funny?  Did you ever use liquid gas in your chemistry class?  Have you been frustrated by the structure suggested when someone wants to put things in random order?  According to the google dictionary, an oxymoron is a “figure of speech in which apparently contradictory terms appear in conjunction.”

I suspect that many felt the tension of the notable oxymoron that Anthony talked about in his sermon on Sunday.  He read from Hebrews 4, where verse 11 says, “Let us therefore strive to enter that rest.”  Talk about oxymorons!  I am supposed to strive to enter rest?  How does that work?

We live in a culture that places a high value on busyness.  Last week I listened as a parent from my daughter’s soccer team rehearsed his schedule.  He moaned as he ran down all of the stops he had to make that evening before he could go home.  However, I noted that as he shared, there was also a sense that this to-do list was in fact a badge of honor.  It was his way of sharing with me that he was doing what good parents in suburbia do—and he was doing it well!

So, when I look at my schedule and simultaneously consider God’s command to rest, I begin to understand much more quickly what it means that I have to strive to get there.  It will require for me to be counter-cultural.  It will require for me to say no to some things.  My chosen busyness, as Anthony called it, needs to be measured against my obedience to God to rest.  In an oxymoron type of way, that rest will only come from my striving toward it.

I am grateful for Jesus’ perfect striving for rest.  He was on a mission while He walked as a man on the earth.  This mission included hard work and busyness.  His schedule often seemed very full.  However, we see Him striving for rest as He carved out time to be alone with His Father or sharing a meal with His disciples.  His mission included busyness and rest.  He navigated that tension perfectly.

I am grateful for Jesus’ perfection as I navigate this tension.  I also am on a mission.  My mission includes church outreach, youth group, and home group.  However, it also includes lots of soccer practices, track meets, family meals and tons of homework.   There is grace for the many responsibilities of family life.  However, I want to constantly be re-shaped by the oxymoron that God calls me to as I strive to enter His rest.