Rest. It’s something I’m not very good at. Actually, it’s something I really don’t like. Maybe you’re like me—if I rest, then I might be seen as lazy. Even as I’m writing this, I’m listening to iTunes radio, reading two articles in two separate windows, and have receipts spread out for taxes. Wait. And I hear the TV. Oh my.
I remember building our house. It’s our first house and we love and enjoy it everyday. But it was a rough process that took a lot out of me. Work all day at the church then drive back to Stafford and work on the house for a few hours. Then do it all again Monday through Thursday on 4 hours a sleep a night. Friday and Saturday was all day at the house. Then Sunday. I remember telling Jenny that I needed to go over to the house to work on framing after an 11 am service. That was a negative. She softly and gently reminded me of something that I apparently missed in seminary—God rested and I should to. So as any smart husband would do, I listened to my wife’s wisdom. I rested…and wait for it…I actually enjoyed it.
Last year the Huffington Post released an article that shows some dangers of not sleeping. The results shouldn’t surprise us: increases our risk for obesity, diabetes, memory loss, cancer, and strokes. But we still stay busy. It’s normal for us to equate busy with having value.
After creating the earth and the universe, God rested. After he was done creating, God called a time out. It wasn’t because He needed some Gatorade after breaking sweat and gasping for air. Our all-powerful Creator, who never gets tired, was introducing a pattern for us to live a healthier and holier life. God rested (or ‘ceased’) from creating because of what He accomplished.
When I rest, I am able to give my best. I’m able to give my best for the next six days. By resting, I’m rejuvenated from reflecting and relaxing. Rest can become a reward. Rest needs to prepare us for next six days of accomplishment.
So how do we rest? It will look different for all of us. Things affect all of us differently. What feels like rest to you might feel like work to someone else. Every one defines work differently.
Rest is reflecting on what we accomplished and what’s coming next as we relax. So it could be stepping away from the noise and distractions, turning off the phone and TV to: read the Bible and pray, take a nap with your spouse on Sunday afternoon, watching football on Saturday with friends, taking a walk, working out, playing golf, looking through a magazine, serving at church, or taking the kids down to serve at the local shelter.
Sometimes the most spiritual thing to do is to do nothing.
Well. I did nothing on Sundays with the house. Jenny and I went to a service and served at a service, then spend Sunday together napping and taking our dog on a walk through our neighborhood.
And I never felt better on Monday morning.
Pastor of Spiritual Formation and Family Ministries
New Hope Church
703.971.4673 ext. 261