Oh man. I don’t even know how to start this post. In the last months I’ve been super convicted of the fact that I need to take more time for rest. Ironically enough, I started this blog post late at night when I should have been sleeping…
We live in such a fast-paced society. Somehow, it has become “normal” to spend your days running from one activity to the next with hardly any time to rest in between. Sadly, resting is often even seen as being lazy. I’ve personally bought into the lie that if you’re not doing something, you’re not being productive. I have a difficult time saying no, often find myself taking on way more than a healthy schedule should hold, and have hardly any time during my work week to rest.
Why is rest so important? What does God say about rest? How did Jesus provide examples of rest for us?
- Resting is a physical necessity. Working full-time in youth ministry, I’ve noticed that it can become super easy to burn out if I don’t take care of myself. I’ve contracted mono two times in the last year, and I know a big reason for my low immune system is the fact that I’m so terrible at placing boundaries on my schedule. Rest allows for our bodies to relax, it decreases stress, strengthens our immune system, prevents burnout and anxiety, and actually helps the rest of our day to be more productive.
- Spiritual rest is a commandment. I’ve listed some passages that speak about rest, because God’s word speaks to this much more effectively than I ever could.
- Matthew 11: 28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
- Genesis 2:2-3 “By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.”
- Exodus 20:8-9 “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labour and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God.”
- Mark 6:31 “Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”
- Mark 2:27 “Then he said to them, ‘The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.”
- Exodus 33:14 “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”
- Psalm 23 “The Lord is my Shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul.”
- Hebrews 4:9-11 “There remains, then, a Sabbath rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest.”
There is a time to be productive and fruitful for the Kingdom, but also a time to rest from work and be refreshed.
- Resting allows us to be made more useful by God. Something that always speaks to me is that if Jesus needed time to rest, then how much more do I need time to rest!? Jesus provided an example for us by often taking time away from everyone and everything to be alone with God. Time to pray, to be refreshed, and to be re-filled. When we spend our time pouring into other people, we need to also be poured into in order to be effective. This was exactly the case with Jesus. He spent his time walking through the streets healing people, ministering to people, befriending people, and training his disciples. He needed to spend that that time with his Father to be poured into by the Holy Spirit.
God created this idea of Sabbath rest because He knows how much we need it. He wants that need for rest to be a constant reminder of our dependency on Him.
Do you have issues with taking time to rest? My devotion time is always in the mornings, which is a great time for me to get the strength and equipping I need for the day, but now I recognize that I need additional time of rest in my day. I’ve personally committed to carving out intentional “rest” time out of my schedule each day. 20-30 minutes to grab my Bible and enjoy some peaceful time in God’s presence. I’m looking forward to seeing how God will work in me during these moments. I’m also praying for God to show me things that need to be taken out of my schedule in order for me to be more effective in the ministry areas remaining.
Will you take the challenge to also reevaluate your agenda and possibly schedule rest into your day?
“My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.” Psalm 62:1-2