There is an ancient truth that I’m trying to incorporate into my life. I wonder if you might join me. It is the ancient truth of rest.
We hear constantly about the crippling pace of our modern world, about how our technology dissolves the difference between work and play and then extends this uncertain busyness into every available moment of the day. We hear also about how our digital lives can leave us with a psychological state not unlike “screen burn” in which what we’ve absorbed embeds itself into an ever weaker and wearier soul.
We also hear a great deal today about the astonishing good that rest can do. There are advocates for more sleep, more frequent ten minute breaks from work and, always, longer vacations. All of these base their pleadings upon sound research and the experience of millions.
My renewed devotion to rest has come from two sources. First, I’m old enough now to know that the work I do in a rested, inspired state is vastly superior to work I do in any other state. A good sleep, a change of pace, my mind absorbed by great ideas, and some rowdy exercise all enable me to create and perform at my best. In fact, I’m able to achieve so much more in this state that I don’t even miss the hours spent in rest. It actually seems as though I multiply them many times over.
Yet my greater reason for challenging myself to rest is that I live for a God who wants me to rely fully on him. When I read scripture, I see that God ordained the Sabbath, numerous feasts and, in fact, entire Sabbath and Jubilee years—all having the purpose of demonstrating complete reliance upon God’s grace and provision. A man ceased to work on the Sabbath so he could rest, true, but he also did it as a statement that God was his source and not the work of his own hands. He ceased working during the feasts, too, and this was for the same reason: God provides for me, not work alone. I rest to demonstrate this truth.
Taken in this light, rest is an act of worship. It honors God by pulling down the idol of overblown work and by saying through action the words of Abraham: No man shall make me rich. That is the promise and the province of the Lord.
So I’ve decided that rest will now punctuate my life. I’m going to take a full day off a week. I’m going to have some peaceful hours everyday. Bev and I will pull away several times a year for complete rest. As I do each of these, my posture toward God will be I belong to you and you provide for me. Though I am called to work, I am called to rely upon the living God first.
Consider joining me in this adventure of rest. In fact, here is a challenge. Why don’t you commit to a pattern of rest for three months? Then, in mid-August, take stock of yourself. See if rest hasn’t enhanced your life. I’m guessing you’ll be healthier, perhaps a bit wealthier, and, hopefully, much happier.
That’s it. Rest up. And have a great weekend.