I captured a moment during Jr. High camp this summer that truly touched my heart. It was the last evening of camp. The previous three hours were spent in a mud bowl, and now, the campers had washed up and were waiting for a casual dinner at the playground. Strolling through the dusty campground, I quietly admired the sun’s warm hue through the trees. When suddenly, we came across a few young lads resting on a grassy knoll. Silas, being his extroverted self, immediately sat down and showed them this giant lizard (which is neither real or his so it remains utterly intriguing). They were really impressed, and asked if He had a name. I, naturally, thought they were talking about the reptile, so I said, “Oh, he doesn’t have one” They laughed and said, “No, the boy” “Does HE have a name?” I laughed and said, “Yes”. The small conversation continued and ended; I had to keep the stroller moving for the twinsies…
I thought regretfully to myself. “I wish I could have asked them what they learned this week, or if they had anything moving to say about IHC, or Jesus, or Josh, that I could report back to our supporters…” But the Holy Spirit inside me rebuked those thoughts.
I did NOT need to hear anything from those boys. I SAW IT. And you can too. These boys are resting, truly resting.
It felt like a heaven on earth moment. Everything was good, because it was the Lord’s. His kids, on His grass, under the warmth of His sun. Completely care-less, in the care of God.
By day 4, these kids had a new rhythm to their lives. Free from first world distractions, their time was completley free to claim God’s creation as good and fun. By day 4, they would play outside for more than 60 minutes!…in the mud and on the rocks, playing in trees like the generations of old!
By day 4, these Junior Highers grasped the Gospel as green pasture. The Lord’s kindness as a deep breath of fresh air.
Yes, the Gospel is our green pasture, and if you aren’t resting in it, then it’s not grace, and if it’s not grace, then it’s not the message that Jesus died to give you.
I pray after reading this, you feel God’s kindness drawing you back to Himself. That your ever-increasing desire for rest leads you to Christ. And that His Spirit guides you through a holy moment of surrender. Hear his firm yet loving voice calling you unto Himself. Feel His strong yet gentle hand moving you far from condemnation into a pasture unlike any other.
Put your whole self in the care of this shepherd and you will want for nothing. His love is deeper, and his joy is greater than any momentary comfort we could create for ourselves. Nothing was meant to sustain us like Him. No religion, political party, or economic structure can take care of us like Christ. He alone was meant to bear the weight of all the joy we hope to graze.
Some Truth to REST in:
Psalm 23:1-4 ” The Lord is my Shepherd. I will have everything I need. He lets me rest in fields of green grass. He leads me beside the quiet waters. He makes me strong again. He leads me in the way of living right with Himself which brings honor to His name. Yes, even if I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will not be afraid of anything, because You are with me. You have a walking stick with which to guide and one with which to help. These comfort me.”
John 10:10-11 “The robber comes only to steal and to kill and to destroy. I came so they might have life, a great full life .I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd gives His life for the sheep. “
Luke 12:32 “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.”
Romans 8:1-2 “Now, because of this, those who belong to Christ will not suffer the punishment of sin. The power of the Holy Spirit has made me free from the power of sin and death. This power is mine because I belong to Christ Jesus.”
Psalm 16:5-11 “The Lord is all that I am to receive, and my cup. My future is in Your hands. The land given to me is good. Yes, my share is beautiful to me. I will give honor and thanks to the Lord, Who has told me what to do. Yes, even at night my mind teaches me. I have placed the Lord always in front of me. Because He is at my right hand, I will not be moved. And so my heart is glad. My soul is full of joy. My body also will rest without fear. For You will not give me over to the grave. And You will not allow Your Holy One to return to dust. You will show me the way of life. Being with You is to be full of joy. In Your right hand there is happiness forever.”
Luke 12:29-32(the msg) ” What I’m trying to do here is get you to relax, not be so preoccupied with getting so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep yourself in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. Don’t be afraid of missing out. You’re my dearest friends! The Father wants to give you the very kingdom itself.”
Matthew 11:28 “Come to Me, all of you who work and have heavy loads. I will give you rest.”
Matthew 18:14 “I tell you, My Father in heaven does not want one of these little children to be lost.” (Parable of the Lost Sheep)
A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23 By Phillip Keller