During the Christmas festive period, especially when we draw near to the end of a year, do you receive newsletters from people who send you greetings and updates of their family? I get these newsletters often and appreciate the efforts of friends for such updates. It’s especially wonderful to receive news from friends whom I’ve not seen for a while, to look at pictures of how their children have grown, and to admire their achievements made in the past year.
Sometimes, as I read these newsletters, I feel a little guilty for not writing such updates. I am very poor at keeping in touch with people and am particularly terrible at recording events and achievements to share with loved ones and friends.
This year, however, I made a new discovery! There is technology for lazy and inept people like me! Both Facebook and Google Plus have automatically summarized my year in pictures and video. I didn’t have to do a single thing, except to view the Year-in-Review video and to decide whether I want to share it with friends.
And so, with some eager anticipation, I clicked on the video to see how my past year was like. Well, it was a disappointment. Since I was not really diligent in updating my Facebook status, nor industrious with posting photos of events and activities, my year-in-review was non-eventful and thin, consisting of mostly photos where other people have tagged me, and making it seem that other people were having a better time than I was in my life.
“Where are the important milestones?” I thought, “What were the really meaningful and significant moments of the past year?” I remembered starting the year with some New Year resolutions, what has happened to them? Did I manage to lose some weight? How about my spiritual life? Did I grow and become a better disciple of Christ after going through the “Discipleship Essentials” book in my cell group and Sunday sermons? How has God shown Himself through my life?
Of course, both Facebook and Google Plus would not be able to capture these aspects of life that are more important to me. Life in Singapore is stressful and jam-packed with busyness. I don’t think many of us will be able to recall small moments of significance without the help of diligent daily journal keeping.
As I was about to despair over the lack of significance of my past year, and grow wary over the many things I felt I have not yet accomplished, I happen to begin reading Hebrews. As many of us know, Hebrews has a rich content on the discipleship journey, admonishing us to keep strong and to mature in our faith. This time, however, I picked up something different.
Hebrews 4:1 states “Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it.” Verses 9-10 continues, “There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest…”
I suddenly noted that while I have been giving emphasis on the discipleship process of discipline and hard work, I may have neglected one of the goals of the discipleship journey which is to enter the Sabbath-rest of the Lord.
The writer of the book Hebrews explained that God’s work has finished and He rested from all His work. The Sabbath rest is a wonderful blessing for us to simply enjoy time with God and fellowship with His people. God intends His children to enter that rest with Him. While the Sabbath-rest is a promise that God has given us, yet it is perhaps one important truth that is often neglected among achievement and work-oriented Singaporean Christians.
So, I ask you, are you going to be anxious about tomorrow and next year, or are you going to learn to rest? Today is the last Sunday of the year. For today and the next few days, will you be willing to simply rest in the Lord and enjoy His presence? As we use these few days to recall and be thankful for God’s grace and provision in the past year, and before we plan to press on further in the race set before us for the next year, let us, for a start today, take some time with your family and friends, to simply experience the current presence of His Sabbath rest.
Eld Alex Lee