From the Pastor . . .


One of the things doctors always recommend for their patients - in addition to proper diet and exercise - is rest. Diet and exercise get lots of attention. Just think of all the commercials on TV these days for diets, diet supplements, and exercise equipment. But there is not much attention given to rest. In fact, just the opposite. People these days are working harder and longer, getting less and less sleep, and the news often reports that many people do not even take the vacation time they've earned. We don't have time to rest! We don't have time for each other. We don't have time . . . for God?

It's true, isn't it? We miss church because we're too busy with other things, or we're there but really are still missing church because we're too sleepy to pay attention. We're too busy to spend time in God's Word. We're too busy to pray. We're too busy . . . period.

Well think about that for a moment. Did you know there are two ways to stop something or someone? You can slow them down until they stop, or you can speed them up until they fly apart. I see the first with my father, who is getting older and slowing down and whose body will soon, one day, stop. I see the second in myself . . . and in many others. Friends are flying apart. Families are flying apart. Churches are flying apart. It is not good. We need rest. Doctors know it. God, our Creator, knows it, too.

That's why God built into creation a day to stop and rest. Not because He needs it, but because we do. To stop flying apart and get the rest we need. Doctors often order rest; so did God. It's called the Third Commandment. But even more than that, we can take some time to stop and rest every day. Time in His Word and prayer, and remember that as crazy as things get in this world, He is in control and working all things for our good. He promised.

It's not just us. Old Testament Israel was often tempted to skip their rest. Do you know why Israel went into exile in Babylon for 70 years? Because God was giving the land the 70 sabbath rests it didn't get because the people of Israel wouldn't stop and do so.

I've taken to scheduling with others time to make me stop and rest in God. Whether I think I'm too busy or not, I have to stop and spend time in God's Word and prayer. Every morning at 7 am. Every morning with my family. Once a week with my circuit pastors. It's too easy to get too busy (or think we are) and skip these things. Luther too! But God knew we need rest. Doctors know we need rest.

Do you think one of the devil's ploys these days is to take away our rest? To destroy us by making us fly apart? To think the world cannot get along with us, and so we need to do more and more? Is our busyness then a mask for unbelief?  A mask for not trusting the Lord but taking matters into our own hands?

Think about it. Or are you too busy to do so? :-)

His servant and yours,

Pastor Douthwaite

Missouri Synod
114 Kingsley Road SW, Vienna, VA  22180
Rev. James Douthwaite, Pastor
Saint Athanasius Lutheran Church