Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Work and Rest in Heaven

Here's something else from Mark Buchanan, who wrote The Rest of God: Restoring Your Soul by Restoring Sabbath. This is from an earlier book, Things Unseen: Living in Light of Forever. I'm finding much of what he says really helpful. And, in general, I'm finding that lifting my eyes toward eternal things is essential for finding perspective and lasting peace for the here and now.

Here's an idea that fits in the overlap between these two books:

Heaven, says Buchanan, is both a place of rest and work. Here on earth, we look to work to fulfill us, rest to renew us, and both fall short. Our rest isn't that restful. Our work isn't that fruitful. We were made to enjoy both, but we only get glimpses of each at their best.
"But heaven is utterly restorative in both work and rest. The Bible depicts the reward of heaven as both a granting of work and a bestowal of rest: The faithful servant is simultaneously given more jobs to do and yet invited to enjoy the perfect Sabbath (see Hebrews 4, Luke 19:11-26).

"I said that heavenly things like this are hard to render in earth's grammar, but maybe not impossible. Imagine a time when you did a good work. You were exhilarated, had a euphoric sense of breakthrough and accomplishment. You felt an honest pride in a task well done. You were thankful and humble all at once. You experienced community. Others gave heart and soul to the work. You needed one another. You told each other so.

"And imagine a time of good rest. You felt completely relaxed and restored. No worries troubled your waking or your sleeping. You had nothing you had to do and were free for anything you chose. You could fish or sleep or rest or garden. The tenseness and tiredness in you vanished. You began to think clearly, pray freely, play joyfully. You entered deeply into fellowship and worship, into silence and laughter, and found a healing rhythm for all of it. You experienced shalom, the flourishing re-creative vitality of God's breath moving through you. Imagine now those two things joined seamlessly together, every flaw in them removed, and the whole never fading.

Mark Buchanan, Things Unseen, pp. 82-83.

More bits of Buchanan at previous posts Those Who Will Not Stop and The Drug Called Busyness.

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