Have you ever returned from a vacation more stressed and exhausted than when you left? “I need a vacation from my vacation!” you might have said. It happens when we lose sight of a vacation’s purpose. When it is used to get away from everyday obligations and deadlines in order to rest and rejuvenate, it’s great. But if we lose sight of that, schedule vacation destinations and overly ambitious activities down to the minute, and try to squeeze in as much as we possibly can, we lose the benefit.
Some lose sight of the point of the gospel in the same way. They see Jesus as the ultimate example whom they need to imitate as best they can in order to stay on God’s good side and eventually receive heaven. To them Christianity is just another obligation in life, along with family and job responsibilities. They miss the point and with it the blessings the Lord wants them to enjoy.
Rather, Jesus says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28). He didn’t come to earth to put more obligations on our daily schedules, but to unburden guilty consciences and fearful hearts. He came to do for us what we could never do for ourselves. He came to fulfill all our obligations under God’s law and to pay the penalty for all our sin. The message of the gospel is a spiritual vacation from our daily sins and all we deserve because of them. It is fresh air, warm breezes, and sunshine for our souls.
No wonder David wrote: “I rejoiced with those who said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the LORD’” (Ps. 122:1). For him going to church, hearing the Word, and offering prayers were not a chore, but a delight. He was ready for a vacation. Aren’t we too?
In Jesus’ name,
There is only one service tomorrow which begins at 9:00 a.m. Plan to stay afterwards for brunch and to wish the Steve and Amy Mielke family Godspeed as they move to Eau Claire.