The Secret to Finding Rest {Matthew 11 & 12}

While the world tries so hard to find rest, as believers Jesus taught us the secret to finding rest; and its not what we think or have been told by experts. #Biblestudy #Matthew #WomensBibleStudy #GoodMorningGirls


I read somewhere that the Chinese pictograph for busy is two characters -a heart and killing.

Isn’t that appropriate?

The clock ticks fast everyday as I move from breakfast dishes, to lunch dishes, to dinner dishes and then back to breakfast time once again.  The calendar pages flip fast and before I know it we are saying “Happy New Year” once again!

And there at the end of the year, as I’m exhausted from holiday expectations…I feel it…the heart killing.

And so hope is restored on January 1st.  When the slate feels clean and a new year begins.  The idea of a second chance to slow down, rework my priorities and live well begins…but inevitably, by March, I’m defeated.

I have done it again.

I have made myself too busy again.

I am just so tired…again.

And then Jesus.

He speaks into my busy day and says,

Relaxing in a meadow full of buttercups in the summer sun

“Come to me, all who are weary and burdened,
and I will give you rest.”

Matthew 11:28

He bids me to come…he promises rest.

But I rush right past him in the morning – hopping onto Facebook and Instagram…for just a minute. And that minute mushrooms into 20 minutes and the coffee maker beeps, reminding me my coffee is ready. It’s time for my quiet time with Jesus.  It’s time to obey his command to come and exchange my weariness for rest.

But as I sit down to pray, it feels like a wrestling match.

I am distracted by my to-do list and it feels like a thousand invisible enemies fill the air, the moment I sit down to pray.

And I have to fight for it.

I have to fight for my time alone with the Lord.

I have to believe that the heart killing is a real problem and I want a heart that is alive and full.

I’m reminded of Ecclesiastes 4:6 – which says:

Ecclesiastes 46 smaller

“Better one handful with tranquility
than two handfuls with toil and chasing after the wind.”

Ecclesiastes 4:6

Are we leading a one handful life or a two handful life?

Look at this contrast!

One handful -> tranquility —> rest

Two handfuls -> toil —–> tired

Ecclesiastes 4:6 tells us which is betterone handful.  


Yet I still insist on picking up two handfuls!  OH the wrestling is real my friends.

But I know the secret to finding rest – it is found in Matthew 11:28. It is found in Jesus.

Are you weary?  Are you burdened?  Come to Jesus.

But you may say, “I am doing this and I am still exhausted.  How do I stop?”

Let’s take this one handful thing –  one step further.  Let’s look at the Sabbath Rest.

Not the legalistic Sabbath rest we see the Pharisees imposing on Jesus in Matthew 12, but a grace filled day set aside for the filling of our hearts with worship and rest.

I practice a Sabbath Rest every Sunday.

Some things to remember from Exodus 20:8-11 about the Sabbath:

  1. Sabbath means rest. We are told to REMEMBER it!  Remember that you are human – not a machine – do not neglect rest. God WANTS you to rest.
  1. Keep it holy – our day of rest is not just for going boating and picnics –it’s to be a holy day.  Remember to worship.
  1. Work 6 days and then rest 1 – in the 10 commandments God does not designate which day is to be the day of rest.  It only gives us the pattern of working 6 days and resting 1.  In the Old Testament the Sabbath fell on Saturday.  Then in Acts, whe see the Christian church meeting on the first day of the week for communion – which would have been Sunday.
  1. We are not to make others work on the Sabbath – the commandment states that our sons and daughters, servants and oxen are also not to work.  Create a community of rest in your home.
  1. This is all based on God’s example in creation – God created the earth and everything on it in 6 days and then he blessed the 7th day, called it holy and rested.  He didn’t rest because he was tired.  He rested because He was setting the example that we are to follow.  Work 6 days and then on the 7th – call it holy, be blessed and rest.

Jesus did not abolish the Sabbath in Matthew 12 – he merely put his foot down against legalism and rules and regulations that are heartless.  Some professions have to work on Sundays –we are not to judge.

We will be tempted to try to put rules on this special day – (note Matthew 12:1,2 – when Jesus picked grain to eat and the Pharisees attacked him ) –but that misses the heart of what God meant in creation for our Sabbath rest to be.

The Sabbath rest is a gift. 

It’s the secret to finding rest.

We must humble ourselves and acknowledge, we need it.  Give yourself permission to put your feet up –guilt free friends!!!!  Run some bath water – soak in there alone and be still. Pray.

And trust –we must trust that the work load we have – God will help us accomplish in the 6 days we’ve been given to work.

Let’s ban together today and declare – we are putting one handful down.

We are women of one handful.  We are women living well.  We are a women of rest!  

Because we have a Savior who is carrying our heavy loads for us.  Leave it all in His hands and begin resting this weekend!

Walk with the King,


**Chime In**

Are you practicing rest in your life? How?  

What is getting in the way of you saying “yes” to rest?

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  1. This week was great in Matthew. I also found the thought of rest in Jesus so comforting. I found it in Matthew 11:29,30 when it talked about yoking ourselves to Jesus. I discovered through my Study Bible that this means to harness ourselves to Jesus’ life and teachings – not the law. I pictured a yoke, like animals use. They are attached and working together. We too, are meant to be led by Jesus and this gave me so much rest in knowing that I’m not doing everything alone. He leads and I obey and by allowing Him to lead and then obeying makes my love complete in Him. (1 John 5:3)

    I linked up again for the third week! I’m loving it! Thanks so much. 🙂
    Cooking Up Faith

  2. Courtney,
    I always enjoy reading your blog. I hope that all went well at the weekend conference. I am a 100% disabled veteran of the USA Air Force. I was medically retired August 2014. I am now a “domestic engineer” with 2 babies in school. I also teach Sunday school to 3&4 year olds.
    I consider myself a devout Christian. For me finding rest is not the challenge. For me, it’s finding mental quiet. If I could pass along what I have learned, in this struggle, it would be mindfulness. When the to – do list is beckoning and the father of lies attempts to intrude, be still. Notice the thoughts, only as thoughts, and let them go. {Ok, I notice I have a thought that is distracting}
    Don’t judge yourself for being distracted, or be hard on yourself. {I can’t believe it. I’m distracted again. If this were REALLY important to me, I’d be able to focus. WHY can’t I focus}
    The Father of lies will try to tell you that you’re unworthy of mercy and God’s graces. But he’s a terrible liar, because you already know the truth. God is listening to your prayers, even in the times you struggle for the words.

    1. Thank you for your service to our country, Malina! My family is full of military veterans and my oldest son is graduating from Basic Training next week!

      I agree with your practice of mindulness. It’s something I’ve been trying to implement the past couple of years, with limited success, but I’ll keep trying. My word for this year is “SAVOR.” God has instructed me to take time to savor every moment, every experience this year and to slow myself down.

  3. Hi Courtney!
    On my way home tonight, I was driving by some stores and I got to thinking that when I was little the stores were always closed on Sundays! It made me feel really nostalgic and I was yearning for that time when my Sundays mornings were spent at church and then we spent time as a family. It always seemed that Sundays were slower and peaceful and it was felt across our small city. Unfortunately, that’s not the case anymore and for many reasons stores and many places are open and Sundays feel a lot like Saturdays or any other day of the week.
    I came home and I couldn’t have read this at a better time! Thanks goodness a word always comes at the right time!
    Lately, I have felt a deep desire for rest and I feel so blessed to have read this blog post tonight. Thank you for the scriptures that I will be meditating on this week as I prepare for a great week of work and REST!
    Have a great night!

    1. My mom and grandma would cook on Saturday so Sunday there was only reheating. There was no chores except washing dishes only church laughing and talking. I miss the good old days. I’m a retail worker and was not able to attend church from the Sunday before thanksgiving till after the first of the year. Very thankful to God I have a job but would love Sunday’s off.

      1. Hi Jackie, I love that the women in your family have a tradition of taking a sabbath day. That is really cool to see! I have worked many retail jobs that require working sundays, and over the last year, I have been reminded that although I may not be able to attend church or rest on sunday, I can make my own sabbath day when my schedule allows. Some weeks that is monday, others it is saturday. The focus is spending time with God and getting recharged. Online sermons or podcasts are a great resource when you cannot make it to church! Hope this helps!

  4. Hi Courtney,
    I’m a homeschooling mum of two in Australia. I always love coming to your website and reading all the wonderful posts.
    I read with interest this post on the Sabbath! I LOVE the Sabbath! I’ve always observed the Sabbath since a child. I find it so refreshing to stop doing things I would normally do any other day such as looking on the internet, washing clothes, cleaning, shopping, schooling etc! Each Sabbath I spend time with God, my Church family, my family and friends, and love being out in nature enjoying God’s creation.
    I just recently read a fantastic article talking about the Sabbath which I would love you to read and anyone else who is interested in observing the Sabbath as a special day set aside by God for each one of us.
    Here is the link:

    Ps. I would love to see some more posts about your homeschooling life!!! Maybe a DITL of your family on a homeschooling day etc. ?!!
    God has blessed you with an amazing talent to write and speak for Him. Thank you for sharing that with all of us.
    Love Lisa from Down Under!!

    1. Lisa,

      Great article! Thank you for posting the link. My family and I keep/observe Sabbath from Friday night to Saturday night. We’ve been doing this for almost 15 years and it has truly saved our family, physically and spiritually! It’s SOOOOO wonderful to turn off EVERY electronic device for 24 hours and spend time with family and God. After Sabbath I feel like a super hero ready to take on the next 6 days in a single bound. We are so renewed and refreshed. It truly gives meaning to working 6 days towards Sabbath so we can rest and relax and spend it with the only people in the whole world who truly matter most. With as much as we run during the week it’s the least we can do to show God how much we love Him and how much He means to us! Blessings!

  5. “The Chinese pictograph for busy is two characters -a heart and killing.”

    Yep! I am in the busiest season of my life and I found this to be true. I work full time during the day.

    We homeschool 4 of our kids. My mom was supposed to be here and help, but my grandmother got sick so she hasn’t been back. Thankfully I they are older so they can be home alone while my husband and I work. We’ve had to change our work schedules and I have to check their schoolwork after I get home. I do science with them from 7:30-8:30 in the morning, then head off to work. My husband had has to help out when he gets home from work (for now he is allowed to work 6-2:30, but that could change after vacation).

    I am finishing my final project for a Master’s degree. I should be finished in the next couple of weeks.

    We are elders in our church and my husband will be ordained this summer.

    Other things that have been going on:

    My 17 year old is in legal trouble. He’s the only one left in public school.
    I organized a contest at work on top of my regular job that was super busy for a while.
    I am mentor in my children’s public speaking program.
    We organized a babysitting fundraiser for my church.

    Let me tell you, I was so overextended that there were times I thought I was going to have a nervous breakdown! Thankfully the speaking program and my master’s project all end early April. The legal trouble could be something we deal with for a long time, but I’m beleiving God for a turn around in my son’s life.

    I am determined I will never, ever get this busy again! It has robbed me of enjoying life and the presence of God.

    Someone once said busy = Being Under Satan’s Yoke. I agree, although I know that we prayed about the big three things: homeschooling, the Master’s, and work (it’s not on option to quit right now). If I would have avoided adding those other things, I think I would have been able to handle this season better.

  6. Question. Since we are not to make others work on the Sabbath, it seems that would include restaurants, stores, movies, etc. As a result, it seems that would mean we should not go and participate in these places that require working people to be there for us to come to them. Of course that does not include hospitals and emergency places, etc. I think the distinction between who must be open and who doesn’t need to be open is fairly simple. So, what do you think? No shopping and eating out, etc.? If Christians alone didn’t go, maybe they would stop being open for business as usual you think?

    1. Hey Sheila,

      That’s how it is in Israel. Just before sundown all shops and businesses close their doors and everyone goes home. Military, police and hospital staff are still working. They look at this as a necessity because it is preservation of life. Some may say, well yeah the Jews are suppose to do that however Jews are not the only group who lives in Israel. Jews, Christians and Muslims live in Israel so once sundown is nearing everyone in Israel begins their Sabbath rest whether they want to or not because everything is closed up until sundown on Saturday. At that point everything opens again. At most hotels the staff is still there however very little to no work is done unless an emergency arises. If you want to participate most hotels will have a short Sabbath service with kiddish to bring in the Sabbath. It’s really quite cool. I don’t know what Christmas day is like in your town however in every town we’ve ever lived in pretty much everything is closed save the movie theaters, hospital, police, maybe a few gas stations and some military. That’s an example of what Sabbath is like in the land.

  7. Your message came just in time.

    I had a “mini breakdown” earlier this week. And, all because of my disobedience. For as long as I can remember, I have only been taking a partial Sabbeth rest. On top of that, I am typically holding two handfuls and trying to pick up a third! No wonder I broke down, exhausted and near tears over a silly problem that had my husband asking, “What’s wrong?”

    I said, “I’m tired.”

    His reply was short and to the point. “Jesus said to give your burden to Him and He will give you rest.”

    I have heard this thousands of times in my life and I never really understood how it worked. I believe that Jesus will take our burdens, but I couldn’t see how we can literally hand those over and experience rest.

    My sweet husband…he said so quietly, “You have to ACCEPT the rest that he is offering.”

    There it was. It seemed so simple now. Right in front of my face, but I never really could see it before. Jesus is offering the rest that we need and it’s not just a pretty verse in the Bible. It’s practical. It’s available. Right now. If I will ACCEPT it.

    I have to put down the things that are making me “busy”. I just have to stop and put them down…Jesus will take them for me.

    I must trust Jesus that things will get done in the time that He gives me to work on them.

    I need to take the Sabbath command to heart and practice it. This means that I will need to plan ahead to rest…maybe do my cooking for that day earlier in the week and freeze it.

    With a thankful, rested heart, I will rely on Jesus to show me how to pick up the ONE handful and let the peripherals fall away.

    Intentional rest. It really is a gift from God. It’s right in front of us. It’s not the mystery that I thought it was. But, I now see that if I want that rest for myself I have to submit to God’s way of experiencing it.

    He makes it plain.

    I need to trust and obey.

  8. I love this weeks content!!! It is something that I really needed to hear. I constantly wonder how to find rest when there is so much to do with work and house chores and church obligations and whatever else. Most of the time I NEED sunday to catch up, but this reminded me that if I trust in him I can and will get everything done in 6 days when I refresh myself on Sunday!
    Thanks so much!!

  9. This post was exactly the explanation of the Sabbath I had been searching for! I always love your posts, and I am so thankful for Good Morning Girls!

  10. The Sabbath day of rest is a beautiful, welcome gift! A day that we can put aside the world and worship God, fellowship and just stop, look and listen 🙂 The fourth commandment is for man, its not a “Jewish commandment” It was established at creation and is for all the ages. Jesus didn’t come to do away with the Sabbath. He did away with all the silliness surrounding it created by man (i.e. impossible rules and regulations about keeping the Sabbath) I imagine that if something was so important to God that He wrote it in stone with His very finger it would be the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. As a family we have been observing the Sabbath and taking in its sweet rest since 1992. Special dishes, special meal, inviting others to be a part of the day too. I look forward to it each week!

  11. Hi Courtney! I’m a mom of 5 young children (7 and under) and I would love some ideas on how I can cook and clean up the kitchen less on Sundays! We aren’t on a budget where we could go out to eat each Sunday. Any ideas? I feel like even on the Sabbath I’m in the kitchen working MUCH of the day! I’m not trying to make rules as much as I just would really love a full day of rest… as much as possible anyway.;-) Thank you and thanks for this great reminder!

    1. Hi Kendra,

      Here is what I attempt to do so I don’t feel like I’m spending all day Sunday in the kitchen: I double my recipes for Friday and Saturday evening dinners so that all I have to do Sunday for lunch and dinner is reheat these two meals. This means I don’t spend a lot of time in meal prep and I don’t have all sorts of pots and pans to wash so there is less clean up time. I also try to have some leftover options in the freezer in case it doesn’t work out for me to cook extra Friday or Saturday for dinner reason.

      Hope that might help you out a bit.

    2. I agree with the amount of time we end up spending in the kitchen, so I have gone back to how I remember Sundays as a little kid and I love the tradition.It makes for a busy Saturday, but if you can get your kids to pitch in (someone make muffins, someone the cake, someone cut veggies, etc) it can be a useful tool in helping them prepare for Sunday as well…. I know it did for me as a kid!

      Breakfast – Muffins
      Lunch – Soup & Buns
      Dinner – Fried Eggs

      I bake a big batch of muffins Saturday for breakfast on Sunday. Our service starts at 9 am, so we don’t really have time to eat together in the morning, but its quick and easy for me to get the little ones ready and they feed themselves a muffin with a banana or orange while I get ready.

      To celebrate the Lord’s Day, I make a cake on Saturday. We eat a piece before lunch when we get home from church (Coffee time – 11 o’clock). We often have visitors join us for this time and we talk and visit together.

      Then I warm up the soup I made the day before (I find it best to use rice or quinoa instead of noodles because I always seem to make my noodles turn to mush). And I pull out some buns/bread from the freezer that I either made or picked up from the discount bread store earlier in the week. If we have company, I’ll also pull out some sandwich meat and cheese, but otherwise we just stick with butter to go on our buns.

      Now its “Nap time” at our house. We all lay down for a bit and if the weather is nice we follow it up by a nice family walk. Then before we head back to church for our evening service (7 pm – which is why my kidlets must nap), I quickly fry up some eggs (sometimes with bacon) and we have a quick dinner before we head out the door.

      After church we have a cookie and milk before bedtime. It’s a special day, after all. 🙂

      All this makes for a busy Saturday but Sunday is much more restful. The day’s meals are simple, yet we have a festive time together, too (the only day of the week we have cake – unless there is a birthday).

      This is what works for me and my family (we are young and small still compared to you…. I have 2 kids 3 and under) and it was what worked for my mom (5 kids in 10 years) and grandmother (4 kids in 5 years) for many years. Hope you can find something helpful in here to implement yourself.

      God bless!

  12. The Sabbath is truly a gift- an invitation from the Creator of the universe to slow down, and be quiet…it is a memorial of creation and it is a demonstration of our obedience and TRUST- we can trust Him to provide for us and refresh our spirits.
    In response to Kendra’s question, “how to be less busy in the kitchen on Sabbath?” That is something I have been able to learn from my grandparents and parents-(and still I get too fancy about our Sabbath meal sometimes). PREPARATION DAY (Friday) is very important to the keeping of Sabbath. So many components of the meals can be made ahead (salads, desserts, casseroles). The time-bake feature on your oven can be set to turn on while you’re at church. A crock pot meal and yummy bread is also ready for you when you plan ahead. And you could use paper plates on Sabbath if that would bring more peace:)
    What a loving God, to actually desire our friendship, and invite us into His presence every day— but with even more promised blessings on Sabbath.

  13. Today’s post was just what I needed. Life gets busy and those 15-20 a day with God sometimes get bumped for other pressing tasks. When I do this by the afternoon I feel as though I am always a step behind. I had to force myself to stop and spend time with God yesterday and today, and I am thankful for it. Thank you for all of your hard work. The emails and post bring encouragement and reminder to take a moment to slow down.

  14. I guess it’s the feeling that we NEED to be on top of everything which makes us feel like we can’t put one handful down.

    What’s the next book that we’re going to be studying? Really enjoying Matthew.

    1. Hi Jenny,

      Since we have completed Genesis and Exodus – the next book in the Old Testament to study is…Leviticus. It’s not an easy study but we are going to learn so much about the symbolism of the sacrifices in the Old Testament and how they point to Jesus in Matthew!

      Hope you will join us!

  15. On another note….thank you Courtney for sharing your Bible Coloring Chart! It has been very helpful for me. Growing up in church I would see people underlining with pen and there was one woman who really intrigued me. She would sit there every Sunday and Wednesday with a handful of colored pencils. I caught a glimpse of her bible a couple of times and wow was it beautiful with all the colors and notes in the margins. I was a preteen at the time and didn’t understand what she was doing or why. I was too shy to ask however I thought it was just so beautiful and that the things that were colored in her bible must’ve meant something to her. Writing and highlighting in bibles isn’t something that was encouraged when I was living at home. My parents paid a lot of money for our bibles so we were to keep them in pristine condition. As well, I LOVE THE ACID FREE HIGHLIGHTERS!!!!!! I’ve purchased several packages and given one to each of my boys as well as one for me and my husband. I now throughly enjoy highlighting and writing in the margins of my bible! There’s too much in there not to! Thanks again and Blessings!

  16. Sabbath Rest IS so very important! But we can’t forget what a blessing it is to live in this country, where there are not laws preventing us from worshipping as our consciences dictate. I’m so grateful that we are still free to attend the church we choose, on the day we choose. Than is NOT THE CASE in much of the world right now. I value that freedom for myself- and will always strive to protect it for others. So it is actually good that businesses and stores are not forced to close for a certain day. I pray that God will continue to bless us with this freedom.

  17. Sadly farms don’t shut down on Sundays! We don’t get any rest because we have to work twice as hard in order to get away after feeding time to go to Mass. I always thought living on a farm would be so peaceful but the work only ends at midnight and there are no weekends or vacations. I cannot wait until my husband retires…

  18. Love your perspective on observing the Lord’s day! We do indeed need a day of rest to unwind from all of our weekly work, and activities, and a “special” day put aside where we can worship God & reflect on all of the goodness he has done for us and shaping our lives for His glory.
    Whether it’s a Sunday or whatever day it is up to the persons conscience, on how they treat that day and when they observe it.

    We love personally on this day to rest in Christ & fill our hearts and minds with Him and in His Word.

    Not forgetting that every day is The Lord’s Day to a believer.

  19. A friend and I have been talking about the gift of the Sabbath and she gave me this link. I love the verse from Eccl about the handfuls. The Bible is full of riches.

    I do have a question about this: “Work 6 days and then rest 1 – in the 10 commandments God does not designate which day is to be the day of rest. It only gives us the pattern of working 6 days and resting 1. In the Old Testament the Sabbath fell on Saturday. Then in Acts, whe see the Christian church meeting on the first day of the week for communion – which would have been Sunday.”

    I compared several versions of Ex 20 and they all say the seventh day is the Sabbath. I also discovered that whenever the Sabbath is connected to a day, it is the seventh day. (Except when God was adding special holy days to the Jewish calendar of feasts.) I think I know the event you reference about the first day and communion. Is it when the young man fell out of the window and Paul resurrected him? They were meeting on what we call Saturday night (lamps all around), and what they call the first day because it was after sundown (days being from sundown to sundown). The interesting thing is that Paul was traveling on the first day. Which was not his custom as a Sabbath activity. His custom was to go to church (synagogue). That is my understanding of this event. If Paul was in your area, wouldn’t you all get together, regardless of the day, to hear him preach? Breaking bread is simply sharing a meal together.(at least that’s what my concordance leads me to believe)

    I tremble when someone disputes the word of God, written with His own finger, twice, in stone. And then had it put in a place of honor, under His Mercy Seat as the foundation of His government. I think if God was going to change one of His Commandments (which I see evidence of in the very beginning at creation), He would have made that VERY clear. Jesus doesn’t even hint at it. In fact, He equates Commandment keeping with loving Him. I need more evidence then believers eating a meal together on Saturday night.

    I’m trying to make this brief as possible which may make me sound cryptic or disrespectful. Please don’t take it that way. I’m just very concerned.

    I would love to see more evidence on this topic. Especially since the whole world is following the tradition of Sunday.I am open to learning more.This deserves more study. I pray that we all will be open to the Holy Spirit’s leading.

    1. Kathy,

      In remembrance of the resurrection the early Christian church changed the day of worship from Saturday to Sunday. God himself had provided the early church with a new pattern of worship through Christ’s resurrection on the first day of the week as well as the Holy Spirit’s descent on Pentecost Sunday.

      This is why Christians worship on Sundays. 🙂

      Here’s an important verse to consider:

      “Do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink,
      or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon
      celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow
      of the things that were to come; the reality, however,
      is found in Christ.”
      Colossians 2:16–17

      You mentioned following God’s commands…We are no longer under the law and if we were anyone who did not hold to the Sabbath would have to be put to death. (Exodus 31:14)

      It’s very interesting to note: Jesus broke the Sabbath law. (John 5:18)

      “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: ‘Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree’”(Galatians 3:13).

      I encourage you to study the book of Hebrews to learn about how Jesus is our Sabbath rest.

      Hope this helps.
      Lots of Love,

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