Rest. It’s my word for the year in 2016. I’ve been studying it. Reading about it. Seeing what the Word says about it.
Practicing it? Well…Ummmm….I’m working on that.
- Desist from exertion.
- To cease work or movement in order to relax, refresh oneself, and recover strength.
On the seventh day God had finished his work of creation, so he rested from all his work. (Genesis 2:2)
This is the first time we see the word rest in the Bible.
Desisted from exertion.
But why? Why did God, who is Himself the source of power and life, rest?
Because He was wiped out from 6 days of creating? Was He zapped? Out of strength?
No. Not at all.
God didn’t need a nap. He wasn’t in danger of running out of power.
He rested as an example for us. To set a precedent.
He knew our tendency would be to over work and under rest, and He wanted to show us how it was done.
And then He set it as a law.
“Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. You have six days each week for your ordinary work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of rest dedicated to the Lord your God. On that day no one in your household may do any work. This includes you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, your livestock, and any foreigners living among you. For in six days the Lord made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and everything in them; but on the seventh day he rested. That is why the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and set it apart as holy. (Exodus 20:8-11)
He made it one of the ten commandments so that even if they didn’t feel tired…even if they still had an over abundance of energy…even if their minds still felt sharp, they had to stop everything – spirit, soul and body.
Rest has become somewhat of a 4-letter word these days, especially in our culture. We push ourselves to do more. We wear busy like a badge of honor. “Look at how much I can do in one day!”
- The early bird gets the worm.
- Burn the midnight oil.
- Power through.
- You don’t need a break for lunch. Work at your desk.
- Leave work on time? Psht. Who does that? Stay late! Work overtime!!!!
- Put your email on your phone and check it every hour or you might miss something. Check it in the evenings and on weekends too or you will just get buried.
- See how busy you are? You must be important.
- Oh, you’re tired? Guess you’re just not as young as you used to be. Can’t keep up, huh?
We caffeinate or Spark or Thrive or drink our pink drinks and run 5 miles just to stay awake and make it through the day.
Yes, I know. Exercise gives energy. But even if what we take/eat/drink for energy and vitality is an 100% natural mix of vitamins and minerals and we have energy for days, our bodies were still meant for 8-9 hours of sleep EVERY night and a full day EVERY week to unplug from EVERYthing.
And if we’re using our exercise and magic mixes as an excuse not to rest because we feel great, we’re wrong.
Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.
Our minds and bodies were never made to withstand this kind of torture 52 weeks a year. And let’s face it…that one week of vacation we get? It’s pretty useless. It takes a good 4 or 5 days to shut down and then it’s time to go home again and jump back in to the chaotic pace of life.
Or we get spiritual and quote Isaiah 40:31 – “I can run and not grow weary and I can walk and not faint! I am super human!”
But, the same God that wrote Isaiah 40:31 also wrote Psalm 23. Now I know why it says, “He MAKES me lie down in green pastures.” LOL. Sometimes, we have to make ourselves rest.
He never expected us to run and walk 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year without adding a daily and weekly rhythm of resting.
We need sleep. We need to rest our bodies. We need to rest our minds. Set our phones down. Turn off the notifications for a day. Even if we’re not tired. Even if it’s a busy season. Even if there’s a project due.
Have you ever put a 2-year-old down for a nap or put them to bed at night? Nine times out of ten what you’ll hear is, “But I’m not tired! I don’t want to go to bed!”
They don’t think they’re tired, but we know better, so we make them go to bed. We know what’s best for them. We know they need their rest.
The One that never sleeps nor slumbers…the One whose strength and power never diminishes….the One who will never burn up or burn out….He rested.
He rested to show us how to rest because He loves us. He created our minds and our bodies and He knows what we need. Sometimes we must sound like that 2-year-old going down for a nap. “But God – I’m not tired! I have so much to do!”
Maybe. But it will also be waiting for us when we’re done resting. And we’ll be in a better state of mind to tackle that project or deal with that situation when we’re refreshed.
So rest – spirit, soul, and body. Totally unplug from life once a week. It needs to be a part of the ebb and flow of our lives. It may take time and effort and discipline, but it needs to be part of our weekly routine.
So…….How’s your rest?