All ye that labor, Come (and live)

On the first Monday of September, annually, America celebrates Labor Day, in commemoration of the American Labor movement, honoring the workers who have contributed to the strength, prosperity and well-being of the country. On this day, both private and public sector offices are closed to give rest to the working people.

The pursuit of rest by man can be dated back to the time of his fall into perdition, in the garden of Eden, for it was only after his fall that he had to labor, to have the cursed ground produce its yield. The only remedy for this tireless pursuit was for the curse to be lifted. When Jesus himself became accursed and willingly laid down his life and died on the cross, the power of the curse of death was lifted from man, with his resurrection. So only in Jesus can one find true rest – rest from their weariness; rest for their souls.

The lyrics of the first stanza of Chris Rice’s song, “Come to Jesus” is as follows: Weak and wounded sinner. Lost and left to die
O, raise your head, for love is passing by. Come to Jesus; Come to Jesus. Come to Jesus and live! This is substantiated Biblically for Jesus said, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). In other words, “Come to Jesus and find rest for your souls” i.e., Come to Jesus and find life – eternal life.

Points to ponder:
Are you laboring to find rest? Are you weak and heavy laden without any rest? Are you pursuing rest from the weariness in your life. If so, come to Jesus and live.

Matthew 11:28 (KJV)
28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Rest and comfort from the curse

Genesis 5:29 informs us of the name of the son of Lamech and its meaning. Lamech named his son, Noah, because he believed that this child, of his, shall comfort them all, concerning the work and toil of their hands because the ground had been cursed, by the Lord God, on account of the disobedience of man. Noah is derived from an ancient Hebrew word which means ‘rest’ or ‘comfort’.

Points to ponder:
God named his only begotten Son, Jesus, knowing that he shall comfort his people, from The curse of sin and death. Jesus referred to his Holy Spirit as the Comforter (John 16:7) who shall come after he ascends to God the Father and testify of him (John 15:26). All who trust (believe) in Jesus are sealed with the of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13), who shall comfort them and give them rest from the curse of death in the life to come and give rest from the weariness of life, from this life, in this one and the one to come. All who come to Jesus will be given ‘rest’ for Jesus is the Lord of the sabbath (rest) and he said, “Come unto me, all ye that are weak and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28). Are you comforted? Do you have rest?

Genesis 5:28-31 (KJV)
28 And Lamech lived an hundred eighty and two years, and begat a son:
29 And he called his name Noah, saying, This same shall comfort us concerning our work and toil of our hands, because of the ground which the Lord hath cursed.
30 And Lamech lived after he begat Noah five hundred ninety and five years, and begat sons and daughters:
31 And all the days of Lamech were seven hundred seventy and seven years: and he died.

Are you in the land of Nod?

The land of Nod is mentioned only once in the entire Bible and it is the land, east of Eden, where Cain, the man who committed fratricide went to dwell after he had murdered his brother, Abel. Interestingly, the Holy Bible records that Cain went out from the presence of the Lord and dwelt in the land of Nod. Nod in Hebrew means “wanderer, exile or fugitive” and the land of Nod would mean the land of the wanderer, which is what Cain was, going away from the presence of the Lord.

Points to ponder:
Though Cain was punished to be a wanderer and fugitive, he was not driven from the presence of the Lord. Instead of repenting for his sin of murder, Cain willfully chose to continue his going away from the Lord and he went to the land of wandering. Jesus said, come unto me and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28), which means those who choose to willfully go away from Jesus will find no rest and instead find themselves as a wanderer in exile. If you have been willfully choosing to ignore the ‘restful’ gospel of Jesus Christ, please do so no longer for if you willfully choose to go away from the Lord, you will find yourself in the land of Nod. Are you in the land of Nod? Repent and return to Eden!

Genesis 4:16 (KJV)
16 And Cain went out from the presence of the Lord, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden.

Matthew 11:28 (KJV)
28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

God’s I will give :: Rest

Many places in the Bible, we see that God is saying “I will give”. In Matthew 11:28, Jesus says, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

We live in a restless world, pursuing the things of the world that promises us rest (peace of mind and heart and body and soul). Interestingly, the R.I.P (Rest In Peace) epitaphs on tombstone indicate that real rest comes after death, but there is a fallacy in such inscriptions. True rest does not come to those who have succumbed to death but to those who have conquered it by believing in God’s only begotten son, Jesus Christ. True rest cannot be found in anyone else, other than Jesus Christ. But we must be careful to not take Jesus’  words partially, but in its totality. Jesus did not say, “I will give you rest”, but instead said, “Come unto me … and I will give you rest.” To find true rest, we must come to Jesus, i.e., talk the step to encounter him first.

Points to ponder:
Do you have rest in your life (in this one and for the one to come)? If not, “Come to Jesus” and he will give you rest – real true rest.

Matthew 11:28 (KJV)
28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Wait and Work :: Be received and find rest

We are counseled to WAIT until the coming of the Lord and commissioned to WORK for Him while we wait. Those who have committed to this cause of waiting and working for the Lord may sometimes feel that the wait is long and the work hard. Like a sprinter that tires after running for some time, there will be some who will depart from the faith (1 Timothy 4:1); let us not be one of them. Instead, we need to be like marathon runners, becoming perfect and complete (entire), wanting nothing (James 1:2-4) as we subject our lives to endure our cross, that Jesus has commissioned us to carry.

Jesus carried THE CROSS and endured it, despising its shame (Hebrews 12:2) and so we can be assured that he understands what He has asked us to do. We can be encouraged by his “I Will” promises. To those who are working, Jesus said, I WILL give you REST (Matthew 11:28) and to those who are waiting for Him, Jesus said, I WILL come again and RECEIVE you unto myself (John 14:3).

But in order for Jesus to receive us when he returns and for him to give us rest, we must first go to him and receive Him by believing in our hearts that Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior, sent of God the Father from heaven. Have you received Christ?

Matthew 11:28 (KJV)
28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

John 14:3 (KJV)
3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

James 1:2-4 (KJV)
My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;
Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.
But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.