by Tony Ross
Have any of you ever seen a space shuttle launch? If not, you can click here and watch one. I have never personally seen a launch, however it is on my bucket list. When a space shuttle launches, one of the first things you notice is the shear power coming from the main rocket-thrusters as they propel the needle shaped shuttle into outer space. What we fail to notice though, is that the space shuttle cannot reach it’s destination without having first been connected to one thing- the launch pad.
With most of you on the brink of your college Fall Break, I wanted to encourage all of you to think through your Fall Break as a launching pad for the rest of the semester and year.
Rest is essential.
I know what some of you are thinking. Duh, I get that. However, we are like those rockets sometimes, we are full-throttle until we get burned out; then it’s too late. If we’re going to finish strong as Paul says, then we have to rest. And if we are honest with ourselves, we’re into the first week of October and we’re not quiet sure how we’re going to muster the strength to go another 2 months. If that’s the case, I’m glad you’re reading this.
In Matthew 14, right after Jesus finishes making a buffet for five-thousand out of a Lunchable he does something quite unexpected- he rests. Verse 23 says “And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone…” Here we see something extraordinary. The Son of God, who became a man…is tired. Jesus is fatigued. We have a misconception sometimes when we think of Jesus. We think he is some mythological figure: half Thor, half Rambo who is capable of superhuman stamina. Jesus got tired. And when Jesus was tired, he went to be alone and pray to his Father. Jesus abided in his Father, and he instructed us to do the same.
Rest in Christ.
Shouldn’t we be grateful for the writer of Hebrews when he says in 4:15 “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” Jesus was tempted to trust in himself for strength. When Satan tempted him in the desert with food, Jesus responded by saying “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” When Jesus was tempted to satisfy the flesh with food, He quoted Scripture. When Jesus was tempted to rest in his own strength in Matt 14, he prayed.
Jesus, showed that he was susceptible like we are to fatigue. However, where we have failed to rest in God, Jesus succeeded. Where we pridefully rest in our own strength and power, Jesus rested in his heavenly Father’s strength and power. Jesus says in John 15:5 ““I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” When Jesus said abide, what he meant was this: to make our home IN him. We are to rest in Christ. In the Gospel.
Jesus says in Matt. 11:28-30 “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest…my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Jesus lived, died and rose in our place so that we would know this. That we would know that life is meant to be connected in every facet to him. Living in a broken world is already an impossible task. How would we ever think we could live life apart from the one who created us.
Use your rest as a launch-pad.
When we try to rest, we really don’t rest. I encourage each of you to rest on your Fall Break. Put down the phone, step away from social media and rest. Rest your eyes. Rest your mind. Plant your face in the Word. Spend time with your Father. Ground your soul in the finished work of the Son. Ask the Spirit for help to abide in God’s unconditional love for you. Make your home in him.
Use this break to tell someone of the burden lifting, yoke ending unconditional love of God in Christ Jesus. Take time to build relationships with family members, friends and relationships you missed out on in the first half of the semester. Get a goodnights sleep. Begin your day with Psalm 16:11. End your day over a cup of coffee with a friend. Plan out the rest of the semester. Use this break, not as a step back but a launching pad into the rest of the year.
Tony Ross is currently interning at Mercy Hill with our college ministry.