This information is not original with me, but from a fascinating book I found entitled, “The Passionate Church: The Art of Life-Changing Discipleship.” Since I am a visual learner, I have included my personally designed diagrams along with my own notes to help in my disciple-making and teaching efforts.
We can rediscover the rhythm of life the Creator God intended for us in the principles of the semi-circle.
I am the vine and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prune it, that it may bear more fruit. –John 15:1-2
As we read Genesis, we tend to learn that mankind is working for six days, then we rest from our work on the seventh day. Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy made the top ten list. The truth from the semi-circle teaches that we must live in this rhythm of life in order to be productive.
We must start from a place of resting, resting and abiding in God. All living things grow, so in order to be productive we must live in the rhythm of the semi-circle. So, rather than resting from our work, we must learn to work from our rest! Abide in God, produce fruit, grow, then prune (in order to grow more fruit).
Work is not a part of the curse, Adam was to work in the garden even before the fall. We are designed for intentional activity. The authors make an interesting point:
- Unemployment causes our lives to fall below what is standard. One has thus fallen from the God-given call to lead a productive life. The focus on productivity and usefulness are lost, as though they are no longer being fully human.
- There is no such thing as retirement. If you leave your job is voluntary, it will not be long before you feel the onset of depression. No amount of golf or fishing can take the place of being fruitful.
- There must be work in heaven, not just an endless worship service. Before the fall there was work, so there must be work after the redemption. This is a foreshadow of the life to come. Work is a strategic part of the human experience.
Growing grapes in the first century allowed the vines to be unproductive for the first three years. If fruit tried to grow it was cut off, because the vines were not yet strong enough to support the load of the fruit. We must learn about God and ourselves during this pruning time.
Called to Rest
- We are to work from our rest, not rest from our work.
- Rest is not optional if we are to walk in the lifestyle of a disciple.
- We cannot bear fruit is we do not spend time abiding.
- Aren’t we supposed to be pressing forth with all our energy to do the work of the kingdom? In a word, no.
- We find grace in being who God made us to be.
How Jesus Rested in this Rhythm of Life
- Resting through extended times of retreat (Mark 1:12-13)
- Regular daily times of quiet resting with the Lord (Mark 1:35-39)
- Teaching the disciples to rest (Mark 6:30-32)
- Jesus alone at the lake before teaching – Mark 2:13
- Jesus withdraws with his disciples – Mark 3:7
- Jesus goes to the mountainside and calls his disciples – Mark 3:13
- Jesus leaves the crowds and gets into the boat – Mark 4:35
- Jesus at the lake/hillside – Mark 5:1
- Jesus crosses the lake to the other side – Mark 5:21
- Jesus sends the disciples ahead, dismisses the crowd and goes to the mountain to pray – Mark 6:45-46