There is nothing quite like a good chair. A seat with four legs, usually with a back and arms provides support and rest for the one using it. There are many many kinds: office chair, wing chair, leather chair, slipper chair, club chair, klismos chair. Chairs are my favorite piece of furniture. In my 300 square foot habitation, I have three chairs, not counting the four kitchen table chairs. I love chairs.
I love chairs because of the feel you get when you initially sit down on a chair. It’s as if your quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, calves, and tibialis anterior sigh loudly, “ahhhh”. There is rest and relaxation that comes from sitting on a chair.
Sometimes it’s hard for people to sit on chairs. Not physically, necessarily, but in our day to day activities, there is often no time to sit. And there’s no value in sitting. We think, “If I’m sitting, how can I accomplish all the tasks for that day? Walking or running enables me to reach the goal. Moving gets me somewhere. Effort results in reward.”
If a person does sit, it’s usually after working. At the end of the day, after making a meal, after exercising, then sitting comes. In most minds, it’s walk, then sit.
But what does it really mean to sit? In order to walk and stand, our muscles must work to keep us upright and moving, bearing the weight of our own bodies on our legs. And when we’re holding something, that too, our bodies must carry. We extend a lot of energy, straining our muscles, and ultimately grow weary. But when we sit in a chair, our entire weight rests upon that chair, along with the weight of that which we were holding. Immediately upon sitting, relaxation comes to our muscles because the strain of bearing the weight falls on that chair. We find rest and revitalization by sitting. Utter trust and dependence is upon that chair, for that chair to bear our weight and our burdens.
And everything is spiritual, so this isn’t about a piece of furniture, but redemption.
The Christian life is all about dependence and trust, upon a chair, Jesus. When we sit down, we simply rest our weight – our to do list, our fears, our future, our relationships, our frustrations, our plans, our regrets, everything – upon the Lord. We no longer carry it.
Sitting is an attitude of rest, and it is the beginning of our faith journey. God worked six days and then rested. Man was created on the sixth day. As Watchman Nee said, “Clearly, then, [Adam] had no part in those first six days of work, for he came into being only at their end. God’s seventh day was, in fact, Adam’s first. Whereas God worked six days and then enjoyed his Sabbath rest, Adam began his life with the Sabbath; for God works before he rests, while man must first enter into God’s rest, and then alone can he work.” (Sit, Walk, Stand pg 4)
Because God worked and completed creation, Adam could begin his life with rest.
That’s what the story of redemption is all about. Jesus traded places with us, bearing the load of our sins, nailing our guilty charges, mistakes, shame, record, and judgement to the cross. Paying the price we never could, Jesus cried “It is finished!” It’s complete. It’s done. The ultimate finale. Which is really our beginning. We do nothing to acquire, earn, or attain salvation. We simply rest…depending with utter faith that when we sit on the chair, Jesus, that He will bear our weight.
“Christianity begins not with a big DO, but with a big DONE.” God gives us this rest in response to the finished work on the cross. Jesus worked for us, we didn’t work for Him. On the ground of what Jesus did, through His blood, we have our redemption. The Voice translation says it beautifully in Ephesians 2:8-9 “For it’s by God’s grace that you have been saved. You receive it through faith. It was not our plan or our effort. It is God’s gift, pure and simple. You didn’t earn it, not one of us did, so don’t go around bragging that you must have done something amazing.”
May we remember that the Christian life begins by us depending not upon our own doing, but upon the finished work of Jesus. May we first learn to sit before we try standing, walking or running. And may we see today that God pulls up a chair and says to us, “Please sit.”