Be Still And Know

“It takes hard work to rest.” I read this line in the book Crazy Busy and thought: “work” and “rest” are like two bickering sisters. The Mary and Martha of the grammar world. They must not sit together. It creates controversy. I’ve never heard a sermon suggesting “work” is the answer to “a heart at rest”.

Rest was by default in the Garden of Eden. “The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.” (Gen. 2:15) The word “put” in Hebrew is [yānaḥ] meaning “to rest”. In Genesis even work was restful, in Gen Z not even naps are restful.

If we desire a heart at rest in the midst of chaos, we need to fully grasp that our God is Sovereign. The Psalmist says “Be still, and know that I am God…” (Ps. 46:10). We can’t know God on the go. So, we must stay still. How do I exit the highway of productivity while at full speed?

I told myself that I can multitask. I can do audio Bible as I drive. I can listen to sermons while on the treadmill. I can sing as I do dishes. And I can pray to him while stuck in Bucharest traffic. (Driving in Romania increases your prayer life anyway.)

Multi-tasking is nothing but “switch-tasking”. It doesn’t give full focus to anything. It’s a God-given gift, but we abuse it and miss-use it.

A wife was talking to her husband. He politely nodded, and aha-ed her when appropriate as he was multitasking. She gently cupped his face into her palms and said “Would you please listen to me with your face?”

God wants for us to listen to Him with our face, with our full focus, not multitasking. A pastor suggested that we can’t create intimacy with God, but we can make room for it.

Each Sabbath was preceded by a preparation day. “The preparation day for the Sabbath was a command just as Sabbath itself.” said David C. Grabbe

“This is what the Lord has commanded: ‘Tomorrow is a day of solemn rest, a holy Sabbath to the Lord; bake what you will bake and boil what you will boil, and all that is left over lay aside to be kept till the morning.’” (Exodus 16:23 ESV)

“Be still and know that I am God.”

I want my schedule to be still, so that I can be still and know that God is sovereign. Knowing Him will breed rest. So, I must put in some “holy sweat” to make room for intimacy with my Creator.

Here’s one action step I can take just like the Israelites on “preparation day for the Sabbath”.

A friend from church was telling me they’re moving away this summer. We work with expats, it’s quite normal to move on. I expressed to my friend how difficult it must be to look for new friends, new house, new dentist, new mechanic, new church, new everything. My friend agreed that these are challenges, but then added “There is one benefit to the expats moving to a new place. You get to reset.” You get to choose what to volunteer for at the kids’ school, how much to serve in the church, how many friends to entertain. You get to set your own pace.

Jesus didn’t ask Martha to be Mary. He didn’t ask Martha to give up serving, cooking, welcoming guests, being an extrovert. God had planted those gifts in her in the first place. Jesus only told her to make better choices on what she puts on her plate. “Mary has chosen the good portion.” Luke 10:42

The word “portion” in original Greek is μερίδα [merida]. If you google the word you will see photos of the Greek versions of a shaorma on a plate. It’s a platter of food items you choose to have: shredded meat, veggies, fries, sauce.

Jesus is asking Martha to select well what she places on her platter. We often allow others to put “all-you-can-eat” on our portion. My capacity may be a saucer. Then why do I put a Thanksgiving turkey on it?

What are some things you can reset? Let’s put in some “holy sweat” in preparation for a heart at rest. The word be still in Psalm 46 is [rāp̄â] meaning cease striving. It takes two to tango. We must cease striving, and He will help us know Him. “12 work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” Philippians 2:12-13 ESV

As the Capital One commercial famously asked “What’s in your wallet?”. Let’s ask ourselves “What’s on my platter?”.

Be still, and know that I am God…” (Ps. 46:10)

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