Is there anything more elusive in our contemporary western culture? As the fall calendar unapologetically demands our full energies, collapsing into bed at the end of the day becomes the norm. Yet, while many of us struggle to apprehend it, we also cognitively understand the vital role “rest” plays in our emotional, physical, and spiritual health.
The scriptures underscore the primacy of rest in our lives.
It is useless for you to work so hard from early morning until late at night, anxiously working for food to eat; for God gives rest to his loved ones. — Psalm 127:2 NLT
Working long hours is not the issue here. Being anxious about needs to the point of working oneself into exhaustion is problematic. One of the benefits of trusting God to meet our needs is the resulting rest which springs from such faith.
He said to them, “Come away with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest. — Mark 6:31 NIV
After a tremendously demanding ministry season for the apostles, Jesus suggests the next right thing is to rest.
Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light. — Matthew 11:28–30 NLT
One of my mentors, Dr. Bill Thrasher of Moody Seminary, reminded me that others may place undue expectations on me so as to preclude proper rest, and that I might even put excessive expectations on myself with the same result. God, however, would not do this to me.
May God enable us to embrace increasingly healthy life rhythms, including ample rest. A good place to start is through a simple, yet sincere prayer asking God for his help in this regard.
Many of you have offered words of encouragement to me and others in leadership. Thank you. If you have a question or comment, I hope you will reach out to me.