We’re at the beach and I felt relaxed immediately upon approach. The drive over the marshes, flanked by palm trees and fishing boats at various points, signals to my inner most being a sense that all is right with the world, at least for the next seven days.
The hours on the clock have little more authority over our movements and decisions than the appliances or furniture on which they are found. Hurry is not relevant, unless it is part of the game of tag we played on the beach after dinner. (You should see how agile Mimi and Granddaddy are sprinting over sand away from their pursuing grandchildren!) Ellie and Chad can explore out of the reach of their parents, enjoying a little more freedom and independence than is reasonable in the city. And happy hour before dinner was blissfully that. We sat overlooking the ocean from our front porch, visiting about all things that came to mind with all the leisure in the world to complete thoughts and exhaust each topic in a satisfying way.
The LORD replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” Ex. 33:14
Rest is a gift. The old live oak trees draped with spanish moss, the miles of marsh, the exploration of blue heron and white egrets (or cranes?), the huge ships that make their way slowly in and out of the inland waterway are the particular scenery into which God has placed Himself for my rest this week. But He isn’t here to serve me, rather, because He is God and runs His world with precision and ease, I can rest. Because He tells the waves this far and no further, I can simply enjoy their rhythm without the need to worry about controlling the tides.
Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest? “Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.
“Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Worry, rest and treasure are connected by God in His Kingdom. When my treasure is something that I must acquire, fight for, defend, manipulate, manufacture or otherwise create or maintain by every effort and grasp of wit and foresight. Who would that not cause to worry at least a little bit? But when God is my treasure, there is no chance of loss, rust or theft of Him. My sin, the wickedness in the world or the rebellious intents of others or even of my own heart can’t diminish God. He has been pleased to give me His Kingdom through the person and work of Jesus, not hold it out like a carrot for those who are determined enough to chase it down. He invites me to run and play tag in my back yard just as freely as on the beach on vacation. As my treasure, He is offering me freedom from enslavement to the clock at home just as it holds little power over us here. Sure there are appointments and meetings that must be kept, but if the world keeps spinning quite well when I’m not filling my schedule with them this week, could it not continue thriving without my filling the schedule when I return? What is it that compels me to rush about so? Is it in response to my treasure or is it chasing after the wrong one? My heart has a lingering affection for self governance and self-sustenance. He kindly pulls me off my weak and wobbly throne and sets me in the lap of His governance and provision. It is there I have rest in any setting.