“In repentance and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.” (Is. 30:15 ESV)
Lord Jesus, our alumni will rest the days after Christmas, and deservedly so. They have been busy with all the festivities of this season, holy and secular. In coming days they will put their loving labors of ministry and the special services of Advent and Christmas behind them. Congregational duties will lessen for a time so they can slow down and rest with You. “The apostles returned to Jesus and told him all that they had done and taught. And he said to them, ‘Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.’ For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat” (Mark 6:30-31 ESV). Bring our alumni to stillness of schedule, stillness to leave things undone so they might rest with You. What remains of all the comings and goings at that first Christmas in Bethlehem? Nothing remains but You. How blessed to know that our constant church busyness does not merit Your coming but in stillness we know again that our lives and ministries are purely Your grace. “But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us” (2 Cor. 4:7 ESV). “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28 ESV).
“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts on you” (Is. 26:3 ESV). When the days of stillness will give way to the renewed busyness of our callings, grant us calm peace of mind to spend and be spent in labor for You, our Lord Jesus. Let the renewal of our hearts during these days of the waning year encourage us to well-doing in the new year of grace. “Return, O my soul, to your rest; for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you” (Ps. 116:7 ESV).
Dr. Dale A. Meyer, President
Concordia Seminary, St. Louis