The Call to Come and Rest
In his poem The Waste Land, T.S. Elliot famously opined, “April is the cruelest month.” Judging by my conversations with some of you, I would expect you to say that October comes in at a close second. I hope and pray that the upcoming “Reading Week” will provide a welcome respite from regular classes and a chance to catch up in some of your assignments. But before you head off on break like some Phoenician sailor (“Those are textbooks that were his eyes!”), I want to remind you of where your rest is found.
I have thoroughly enjoyed the chance to get to know some of you in the classroom, since I now have the privilege of teaching a class on this campus. Now that I have that experience, I am struck by the surprising amount of responsibilities and demands that our students shoulder during a typical academic session. Most of you have jobs that you need to make ends meet financially. Many of you have jobs that are ministry-related. For quite a bit of you, these two jobs are not the same thing. Then there are the friends and family, relationships that require time and energy. And the Washington area traffic. And . . .
You do not need to be told that you have a lot pulling on you. I would only ask that as you feel the pressure of the semester increase, make it a point to regularly seek refuge in the Lord Jesus Christ. He loves to care for his people, so much so that he commands us to seek our rest in him:
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. (Matt 11:28-29)
This is the essence of this new people of God (see the context of the verse): these new people are weary people. They are laborers seeking rest, and they find it in their king. The need for rest is not tangential to the kingdom of God, but rather it is at the heart of the gospel call. We are here because we seek rest, and Jesus has true rest to offer. After all, his words are “the words of life” (John 6:68).
I want to encourage you. Don’t skip your time in God’s Word and in prayer because you are too busy or too weary. Make time for it, because you are busy and tired. That is exactly how he calls you.