The Need for Rest

by Stephen F. Olford

Thought:  “Rest” in Scripture has a significant importance. When God finished His work of creation, “He rested” (Gen. 2:2,3). We read of physical rest (Ex. 23:12); social rest (Deut. 12:9); and spiritual rest (Matt. 11:28). Our text illustrates rest from labor. The disciples had just returned from a busy mission. The Lord Jesus was so involved with the multitudes that He did not “even have time to eat” (v. 31). There are times when we must come aside to rest. In our text we learn two lessons:

1. The Invitation to Rest: “Come aside…and rest.” Jesus still gives that invitation, and we need to heed it. Vance Havner used to say, “If you don’t come apart and rest, you will come apart!” For every one of us there is need for physical, social, and spiritual rest.

2. The Interruption of Rest: “So they departed to a deserted place…But the multitudes saw them…and came together to Him” (vv. 31-33). It is true that Jesus and His disciples had enjoyed a period of rest and relaxation in “the boat by themselves” (v. 32), but that came to an end when they reached the shore. This will happen in your life and mine. The question is: How do we react? The disciples, quite obviously were annoyed and said to the Master, “Send them away” (v. 36); but Jesus was “moved with compassion for them” and met their need both physically and spiritually. Read the story (vv. 36-44). The way we react to interruptions of this kind will either cancel out the good we have already derived (like relaxing on a boat trip), or will turn us into redemptive channels of blessing to those in need. The basic lesson, however, is that all of us need time for rest—especially spiritual rest. Study carefully the two “rests” in Matthew 11:28-30. 

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Thrust:                 Come apart and rest a while

Were the words of Christ our Lord;

There is need to rest from toil,

As we’ve learned from God’s own Word.                                                                                                                                                       S.F.O.

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