It is difficult for us to take the discipline and maturity to slow down and rest, but it is impossible for us to survive without it. As human beings we are hardwired to need rest. We cannot live without it. I notice this in my life at times. Two weeks ago we had annual conference which began Thursday, continued on Friday and into Saturday evening. Then, we would work again Sunday at church.
I quickly discovered I wasn’t having a day off all week when I returned home to work twelve straight days until I got to another day off.
That first day off seems like two and a half days. It’d been so long since I just had a one day break.
I’ve noticed over time that I need a day off once a week. The Scriptures call this Sabbath.
This is one of the original Ten Commandments. “Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy.”
I noticed this rhythm in my life that my body needs one down day at least every seven days where I’m somewhat quiet around my house and spending a great deal of time resting. This doesn’t mean I have to be doing absolutely nothing. I can do small tasks that are not that time-consuming.
On my day off I usually do laundry which involves putting a load in the washer and dryer but I still get to do restful things in between. When my professor in seminary would talk about this he said when you’re a professional like a pastor then you’re constantly giving out, it’s very important to know what refills your tank.He talked about having to discover this while working and getting a PhD in Old Testament. He talked about how he did try different things like watching TV or reading other books, but they really wouldn’t bring him rest and rejuvenation. He loves to play the piano and that helps, but he doesn’t own a piano so that was sometimes difficult.
He ended up discovering that going to the mall was a very refreshing activity. This may sound odd but he explained it was a combination of a change of scenery, getting out of the house, walking around and being somewhat active, and being around people. He didn’t have to be interacting with people, he wouldn’t go up and talk to them. But just the physical presence of other people around him and the change of scenery was enough to clear his mind, focusing on other things and help him get refreshed.
We all need times of rejuvenation. The body itself is made for rest.
Our heart seems to beat continuously, but is actually four chambers that beat and then rest, beat and then rest, and beat and rest. In my opinion, the brain is the most fascinating part in terms of rest. The brain literally rejuvenates itself as we rest. Pathways are restored. Many different things go on in our body while we rest, so rest is something that we cannot go on without.
I find it fascinating that our Creator knows exactly how we are made, what we need, and how we best function, and built that into the things He called us too.
Another reality of the call to rest is that the world is not dependent upon us. In other words we can take a day off and the world will continue on. In studying Sabbath, this is the most amazing thing about it to me. The fact that God sustains the universe and we do not have to. Scripture describes how all things were made by Him, through Him and in Him, referring to Jesus and all things are held together and him (Romans 11:36, Colossians 1:16, John 1:3).
One of the wonderful lessons we learn when taking a Sabbath is that the world is not dependent on us and we can rest. God has created the world and it is not dependent on us.
There is a reality of our dependence on God for life’s sustenance that is recognized and even celebrated in keeping the Sabbath. We recognize that life is a gift, not something we earn. And along with that, we can take the break to receive. We learn that our fruits do not all come from just our hands or our labor, but instead, are the beautiful gifts of God for us the beloved children of God (James 1:17).Luke 11:11 “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”.
Romans 8:32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all–how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?
Rest is one of the beautiful gifts of the father to us. Join me in this day and taking time out of your busy schedule to slow down and rest in the love and provision of our Heavenly Father.How is it that you rest? What in your life when you don’t rest. I look forward to hearing how you find rest and rejuvenation.