The Secret of Success: Sleep, Rest, and Wait
Oct 13, 2019 Pastor Gideon Lee 李業基牧師
I sleep so I may live. I rest so I may act. I wait so I won’t be late.
Pagan Theology: When the gods are at work, people cannot rest
- Mythology is thinly veiled satirical political literature.
- The “Mid-Autumn” myth of Hou-Yi and Chang-E: from warring nations to monarchy to check-and-balance
Biblical Theology: God is at work so people may rest
- In the creation narrative, God rests on the 7th day when the work of creation is finished (Gen. 2:2-3). Unlike the six previous days, the 7th day does not begin with an evening and it has no end.
- Question: Did the 7th day come already?
- “The protector of Israel will not slumber” (Psa. 121:4). God works night shifts!
- “My Father is always at work to this very day, and I too am working” (John 5:17)
- Sabbath Law: “but during the seventh year, let the land lie unplowed” (Exod. 23:10-11) cf. Hammurabi’s Code of Laws Rule 61: use it or lose it!
The Work of Jesus on Earth: to be the Messiah and to let people know. That is also the overarching authorial intent of the gospel writers: “but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah” (John 20:30-31)
Paradox: If Jesus wanted people to know him, why did he keep a low profile until the very end?
Jesus let others testify for him (e.g. John the Baptist and the Heavenly Father during his baptism): “I yield my time to my witnesses!”
John answered them all, “I baptize you with water, but one who is more powerful than I am is coming. I am not worthy to untie the strap of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. … When all the people were baptized, Jesus also was baptized. As he was praying, heaven opened, and the Holy Spirit descended on him in a physical appearance like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well-pleased.” (Luke 3:16, 21-22, CSB)
- “My testimony is not valid if I testify about myself” (John 5:31)
- One witness is not enough (Deut. 19:15, 1 Tim. 5:19, Rev. 11:1)
Jesus put the devil to rest by overcoming temptations: “Mr. Devil, your time has expired!”
Then Jesus left the Jordan, full of the Holy Spirit, and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness for forty days to be tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and when they were over, he was hungry. … After the devil had finished every temptation, he departed from him for a time. (Luke 4:1-2, 13, CSB)
- “The devil, the originator of sorrowful anxieties and restless troubles…” (Martin Luther)
Jesus waited because his time has not come yet: “But wait! My time will come!”
Then he ordered him to tell no one: “But go and show yourself to the priest, and offer what Moses commanded for your cleansing as a testimony to them.” But the news about him spread even more, and large crowds would come together to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. Yet he often withdrew to deserted places and prayed (Luke 5:14-16, CSB).
- “My time has not yet come” (John 2:4, 7:6)
- “Look! I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done” (Rev. 22:12)
Success is not repeating the same thing unceasingly. Success means finishing all the required works.
1. Why couldn’t Jesus use his “down time” to do more for the poor while on earth (cf. Matt. 14:7, 26:11)?
2. People say enough is enough. Why? Do you agree?
3. Do you have a “pet project” at work? At church?
4. Are there some “skunk works” that you are afraid to take on?