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By Cody McCain

Burke CountyCody McCain Burke County

The concept of rest has become synonymous with idleness.
In our modern society and even in our churches, we’ve been
consistently taught to work!  We’ve been taught to work in our natural
lives as well as our spiritual lives.  How often have we heard many
saints say – including our own selves – that “I’m laboring for the
Lord” or “I gotta get busy for Jesus.”  We have definitely heard the
phrase “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop!”  In essence, we
have been taught that “doing something” or being “busy” equates
to productivity.  Actually. what we have done, especially in the Body of
Christ is confused LABOR with work!  There is a huge difference between
labor and work when we look at the very beginning of Scripture.  When
we look at Genesis 2:15 which states, “And the LORD God took the man,
and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it”,
see that it was God’s original design and intent for mankind to work.
At this point, man was in perfect harmony and union with God,
therefore man’s work was first and foremost with the MOTIVE to please
God and secondly, man’s ability to work flowed out of the PRESENCE and
POWER of God!  I would go on to say that in the beginning, man’s work
was following his PURPOSE, therefore work was a JOY and a
DELIGHT unto mankind as well!  Everything Adam did, he did with the
heart and mind of God since he simply operated on who God created him
to be and what he was ASSIGNED to do; WORK is PRODUCTIVE and brings
forth FRUIT!  However, all of this changed after the disobedience of
man and the entrance of the curse of sin into the Earth’s environment.

Part of what constituted the curse of sin is found in Genesis 3:17
when God said to Adam, “… cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow
shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;”
  The NASB translates
this verse as saying, “Cursed is the ground because of you; With
[a]hard labor you shall eat from it All the days of your life.”
  The word used here for labor (KJV says “sorrow”) comes from a root Hebrew
word which means: pain, grief, OR to SHAPE, FORM, OR WORSHIP!  In
other words, because of sin, work changed to LABOR because of man’s
disconnection from the PRESENCE of God!  Man was forced to LABOR out
of his own strength and sweat rather than the power of God and even
would go so far as to shape or form something that would become an
object of worship above the LORD!  Does this sound like any of us?
How often have we labored in something out of our own strength and
wisdom rather than WORK in the realm God assigned us?  Labor can
also be defined as SELF-EFFORT which ultimately leaves to
SELF-WORSHIP; the place where our focus becomes what we can do or what
we have done, failing to give God the glory and the honor!  Holy
Spirit shared something very simple yet profound with me several weeks
ago; He said, “To launch out and do something outside of my wisdom and
guidance is just as bad as doing nothing at all!”  Very sobering yet
truthful words!

This brings us to our scripture texts for today:  we often
forget that fact that in the Gospel of Matthew and the Gospel of Mark,
the writers record two instances where Jesus fed a multitude of
people, with some noticeable differences yet a major similarity
we often overlook.  In the first account – which we’re most familiar
with – Jesus fed a multitude of 5,000 men in addition to women and
children, making the congregation significantly more than 5,000.  In
my study I found out that the particular location of this miracle –
according to archeological evidence where an early artistic depiction
of this miracle was found on a mosaic in this area – took place on the
eastern edge of the Sea of Galilee outside of a city called Hippos in
a DESOLATE and SOLITARY PLACE.  How many of you know that some of the
greatest miracles are performed in a DESERT PLACE?!  It is also
important to note that many came from the comfort of their cities
(including Hippos – which was a very prosperous Greco-Roman city) to
follow Jesus out to the wilderness!  It is in this setting that Jesus
manifested one of His most well-known miracles.  Often we focus on
the miracle itself but fail to realize a very important command, Jesus
issued BEFORE the miracle could take place; verse 19 says, “AND HE

When we jump to the second account of Jesus feeding a multitude in
Matthew 15, this time it was 4,000 men in addition to women and
children.  This time the setting is on another side of the Sea of
Galilee but yet in a solitary and desolate place!  We also note where
the text says that in this instance there were “a few” fish and “seven
loaves of bread.”  There is significance in the number seven, which
means COMPLETION.  Before I get to the key point here, I noticed
something else:  in verse 33, Jesus’ disciples yet again asked Jesus,
“Where could we get enough bread in this remote place to feed such a
   Now the disciples just ran into the SAME situation in the
previous chapter, had they forgotten so quickly what Jesus could do?
How often do we forget what God can do when we face similar situations
that He’s delivered us out of previously?!  This is why the Scripture
tells us in Hebrews 2:1 (NIV), “We must pay the most careful
attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift
  This goes beyond weekly church attendance to developing a WORD
based lifestyle, where we continually flood our awareness with the
Word of God which I will discuss shortly.  The point I want to
emphasize is that in this account of Jesus feeding the multitude, one
aspect remained exactly the same as that in chapter 14: verse 35 of
this account says, “And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the
ground.”  Yet again we see the motif of SITTING DOWN!  This is the
posture that God is calling for us as believers…to simply SIT DOWN!
Before we can experience a manifestation from the Lord Jesus, the
proper posture is necessary!

Mary exemplified this posture in Luke 10:39.  When we sit down, we are
to sit as she did and sit at the feet of our Lord Jesus Christ!
Sitting at someone’s feet symbolizes a place of SUBMISSION and
FELLOWSHIP!   Additionally, the Scripture says that she just didn’t
sit at Jesus’ feet idle, but she, “HEARD HIS WORD.”   In Greek, the
verb “heard” is in the imperfect tense, which can also be translated
like this: “[She] KEPT ON HEARING His Word.”  This signifies a
continual and repeated action on Mary’s part of attentiveness to what
Jesus was saying!  Sitting at Jesus’ feet brings us back into
alignment with God’s original intention for mankind in Eden: to
operate out of the character and nature of God!  When we keep on
hearing the Word of the Lord at His feet, our inner man is changed,
our minds begin to AGREE with God’s Word, and our actions will follow
suit.  This took place with sister Mary when we look at John’s Gospel
account of this supper.  In John 12:3 the Scripture records that at
this supper – likely after the time Jesus finished his teaching and
reclined to eat, after Mary sat at his feet listening – she took very
costly ointment and anointed Jesus’ feet.  During Biblical times, it
was customary to anoint the heads of guests (which she most likely did
as well), which was an act of honor.  However, Mary’s response to
sitting at Jesus’ feet was to anoint His feet, which was an act of
DEVOTION.  We then move from laboring out of our own efforts to
WORKING out of the power of the Spirit of God.  Sitting down at Jesus’
feet is a place of rest, which Hebrews 4:10 describes: “For all who
have entered into God’s rest have rested from their labors.”
in Jesus is the greatest posture of submission, fellowship, and honor
we experience in Him.  Sitting before Him is the most EXCELLENT way to
shift from the category of “busy Christian” to “FRUITFUL KINGDOM

As I close, this is a time and an hour in the Body of Christ where the
LORD is calling us to SIT DOWN!  It is time for us to cease from our
own efforts and works and sit at His feet.  We’ve become so consumed
with DOING that we neglect BEING!  BEING in the posture of submission
and fellowship with the LORD where we crave His very voice and
presence.  It is in this place that we receive wisdom and guidance
necessary to do the WORK He’s assigned to us.  This is also where we
learn to even disconnect from LABOR that God never intended us to
undertake!  The old saints had a song that they sang that applied to
eternal rest, but I believe that it can apply to resting in the LORD
while we live: “Sit down servant, sit down and rest a little while!”


Cody T. McCain Sr. is the owner, funeral director, and embalmer of McCain Funeral Home & Cremations, LLC located in Morganton.  He, along with his wife Shaunda, have a passion to serve their community with the love, integrity, and excellence of Christ.


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