He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
for his name's sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD
(Psalm 23 ESV)
King David here very clearly, and very beautifully, demonstrates the rest to be found in being known and loved by the Almighty God of all the universe. We read this Psalm and words like peace, tranquility, and assurance come to mind. Which to me begs the question- how do I reconcile this peace with my insanely paced life? Does my constant screen viewing, errand running, email sending, ministry "doing" display the rest that God gives? Or do I think that it all depends on me?
To quote Kevin DeYoung, "Sometimes I wonder if I'm so busy because I've come to believe the lie that busyness is the point." When I read that it felt like I got run over with a dump truck of truth. Truth that confronts my life, and causes me to question what I believe about myself, and about God. Do I believe that God gives rest to His children? Do I believe that He gives life and breathe and everything (Acts 17), and on account of this is totally without need of my "service"? Or do I buy into the foolish old cliche of praying as if it depended on God and working as if it depended on me? Here's the problem with that line of reasoning-actions and beliefs are intrinsically linked. So either my actions will flow from my beliefs, or my beliefs will conform to my actions. And to believe that work, especially the work of ministry, is dependent on me rather than on God is foolish at best.
Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”
Be still, and know that I am God. What causes this stillness before Him? He will be exalted before the nations and the earth. Now curiously enough, this is the reason for which we were saved and called to obedient action (Romans 1:1-7), that God's name would be known among all the nations and peoples of earth. So what I do not intend to imply is that our actions don't matter or that we should become complacent and lazy. In Philippians 2 Paul tells us to work out our salvation with fear and trembling. But how are we to do that? In the knowledge that it is God who works in us both to will and to work for his good pleasure. Christianity is hard work. But there is a peace in knowing that none of fruit that comes from this work ultimately depends on me. It is God who brings the harvest. He makes the plants grow. I am merely to till soil, plant seed, prune, and reap in season. I am a piece in the puzzle, and it is not I who hold the puzzle together. I am a member of the body, not it's lifeblood. I am a part of what God is building, but I am not it's be all and end all. I am not the cornerstone. He is. And I can rest in that.