I love the saying: “When I have a lot to do, I make sure to scratch nap off my list first”. I love a good Sunday nap. I take Sabbath rest literally and use the day to restore my body, mind and spirit. When I have extra things to do on Sunday I feel it the rest of the week.
When I forget the benefit of rest during a busy season of ministry or family life, I soon feel the demand from my body or my spirit, whichever one gives out first. God did not rest when He was tired. He rested when it was time to rest. Rest for our bodies, minds and souls is mandatory to be faithful to our kingdom work.
So why do I have to crash before I remember to rest? It has to be my pride that tells me I can do everything I want to do. I need to recognize when enough is enough. God demonstrated the rhythm of rest from the beginning of creation. Jesus spoke about rest in Matthew 11:29:
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
Jesus also demonstrated rest on Holy Saturday when He lay in the tomb before His resurrection first thing in the morning.
So I guess what God wants for us is to discover how rest and kingdom work function together. My puppy teaches me about rest every day. He instinctively goes to his bed at the time I leave for work and again at 10 p.m., whether or not I am still up trying to accomplish one more task before the day ends. He can teach me something when it comes to rest. He is a puppy full of energy but still well aware of his need for rest.
As summer comes to an end, have you had a time to rest? Do you value the rest you have been given? Do you feel like you could have gotten more done and regret your taking it easy? If you are truly living your life for God, you should have found some time for rest and learned that it is no waste of time to Our Father in heaven.
Sometimes we need to rest from what we think is our part in doing God’s work. Jesus Himself said:
No one can come to me unless the Father has enabled them (John 6:65).
That makes our work to go and tell others about Christ and not feel it’s our job to make them respond to our message. Jesus says his work is humble and gentle, not fearful or prideful. It’s when we share God’s love in fearful and prideful way, that we give Christians a bad name.
So I have relearned the lesson that rest is mandatory, and I’m so grateful for God’s wisdom and love. I’m so glad that He designed my body to give out on me when I try to push too hard beyond the boundaries of His purpose and assignments. I’m sure He wishes that I could learn the easy way that His boundaries are always for my best!
As summer quickly revs up to fall flurry, take time to sit, be still and rest. Delight in God’s goodness to you and restore your soul!