I had an amazing day yesterday at a session run by The Father’s House Trust.
I went because it was free. Oh yes, I still have a student mindset!
I also went because if anyone is offering ministry where I don’t have to lead worship, lead the service, preach or otherwise look responsible, then I am always straight in there!
It turned out to be such an oasis of a day. I heard God speaking very clearly in the times of quiet and a dear lady prayed for me and spoke quite accurately into my life. It was one of those times where you feel like you’ve been hobbling along in the darkness for some time and then God comes along and sweeps you off your feet…
…but those are things for me and I’m not going to tell you any more here!
What I do want to share, though, is something that Mark Stibbe said. He talked about the difference between working from rest and what most of the world does – looking to rest from work. Now if you have been following me for long, you know that I am driven to an extent that is actually kind of embarrassing. I work. Quite a lot. In fact, give me a chance and I can make anything into a task to be achieved!
For sure, the concept of work which proceeds from a place of rest in God is not foreign to me; you find it throughout Scripture, although John 15 is always the chunk which comes to mind. But I am just terribly bad at it. (Which is, of course, itself probably a contradiction in terms because to deem yourself bad at something implies you have been trying at it, whereas rest in God is meant to be his work not mine!)
Anyway, Stibbe suggested that there is a connection posited by Matthew 11:27-28 (and co-text) between revelation of the Father and working from rest. Jesus talks about those who are weary finding rest in 11:28. He seems to offer it as a new state of being from which everything else proceeds. Yet 11:29 makes it clear that this state of rest does not mean the absence of work: the mention of a yoke, much like oxen might wear, implies labour.
Coming to the Son, and receiving his revelation of the Father (11:27-28) is the foundation for work from rest. I don’t know how but I suppose that meeting God as Father and owning our acceptance by him removes all sense of striving. There is no need to be in a state of constant activity because he has done all that really matters already. You and I need only rest in that revelation of the love of the Father.
Mark Stibbe didn’t finish that thought yesterday. He left it hanging because he said he was still trying to get his head round the exact nature of this connection. I thought about that too yesterday. I think I’ve concluded that research wouldn’t get me very far in trying to ascertain the connection. I think it’s one of those things that I’m only going to understand as I seek to walk it out.
And so, here’s to me putting all my nervous energies into seeking God rather than doing stuff for him! (I’m sure I’m not meant to work hard at seeking God either since his revelation is a gift. But I know me, and I don’t think I’m going to manage to do nothing! But at least seeking hard after God is probably slightly better than trying to do lots for him…?)