Friday, March 29, 2024

Finished Finally

 By: Lauren Thomas

I have a chronic to-do list. I keep it on my phone. It never ends. Even if I mark off everything on it (which rarely happens), in just a short time, another item is added. The list dictates my day, a harsh master. It is never satisfied. Somehow it has power to affect my emotions. It inflicts guilt, frustration, sometimes even anxiety. I have this often-unacknowledged assumption that completing my to-do list will create a sense of satisfaction. So, I admittedly will add items to my list which I have already completed, but which weren’t there initially, so that I can feel good about the fact that I can mark them off. (I’m so embarrassed I told you that!)


Can you relate?


My chronic to-do list is in conflict with the idea of Sabbath. The whole concept of Sabbath involves “ceasing” long enough to recognize that God can handle taking care of things without my help. Psalm 121 enforces this idea by stressing that God never sleeps: He takes care of things even when I’m not busy trying take care of things myself. I struggle with resting because it is hard to rest until my work has been completed. But let’s be real. The to-do list is never completed! Both Sabbath and Psalm 121 painfully remind me that…


My to-do list will never be finished!


However, one thing – a most important thing – has already been completed:


When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

John 19:30 ESV


Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins has been finished. Finally. Once and for all. Completed. That is why this little phrase in Hebrews sticks out to me:


…After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,

Hebrews 1:3b


I don’t feel like I can rest until my work is finished. Jesus did finish His work, and therefore, He was able to sit down at the right hand of God, where He sits even now. As long as I live, there will be things to do. But because Jesus has finished the atonement for my sins, I have assurance that one day I will enter a rest that means my life is completed too.


So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, 10 for whoever has entered God's rest has also rested from his works as God did from his.

Hebrews 4:9-10 ESV


For now, when I feel overwhelmed by my to-do list, I will remind myself that the most important thing has already been finished. Finished finally. 


If you, too, have a chronic to-do list, how do you keep it in its proper place and not allow yourself to be overwhelmed by it?

Is it hard for you to rest? What do you imagine the Sabbath rest of Heaven will be like?

As you reflect today (Good Friday), what does it mean to you that Jesus finally finished the work He set out to do?

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