A recent conversation with a young pastor about rest revealed how seldom we take Jesus’ commands about rest to heart.
In our crazy multi-tasking world, some look at resting as being lazy, but God created us with the need for rest. LIke a car needs fuel, like a phone needs a re-charge, like a computer needs an occasional reboot, we need rest. We need refreshing – body, soul, and spirit.
I remember a pastor asking the congregation one Sunday if anyone got so busy they forgot to eat. When I raised the only, lonely hand to a bit of laughter, he amended – except for her. It is an unusual thing in our circles, but Mark 6:31 tells us it does happen and did happen to Jesus and the disciples…
” And He *said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a lonely place and rest a while.” (For there were many people coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat.)”
I love searching out the original meaning of words and several of the uses of the word rest in Hebrew have varied, but similar descriptors:
a cessation, a pause, a quiet, a rest:
a giving of rest:—holiday
a resting place, state or condition of rest:—place(1), rest(2), rested(1), resting place(2), security(1).
to lead or guide to a watering place, bring to a place of rest, refresh
The New Testament verses I checked with Greek commands to rest had identical meanings with the additions of
to refresh, rest upon: —rely upon, rest upon.
rest: —repose rest.
to cause to cease, to rest: —given rest, rested, restrained.
—and for my young pastoral friend who enjoys naps:
to lie down to rest with, fig. to be refreshed in spirit with: —find rest
Family and friends have told me they find rest in ways as varied as their personalities: some by gardening which seems like work to me, but is restful for them. Others by going into nature, and seeing God’s creation – getting away from the hustle and bustle of work and life’s many demands. Some by opening God’s Word, or by playing soothing music, and still others by taking a short nap.
Are you a goal maker like I am? I long for summer, and always make goals to find time to rest, but it doesn’t happen as often as I like, so I’ve made a new goal: a 15-20 minute rest in the sunshine, (or fresh air on alternate WI days), usually reading fiction or affirming non-fiction that allows my heart and mind to relax. I am still working on developing a sufficient sleep schedule because we know the many ways our resistance is lowered from insufficient sleep. I used to regularly work through the night (free from interruptions), with little to no repercussions physically, but find each year it takes longer to recover from such events. I know I’ve experienced some of those side-effects from lack of physical rest and in addition to some probable poor decisions, slower than healthy reactions, and close calls that probably required a legion of (exhausted) angels watching over me, I wonder what I have missed spiritually.
Now you know why I have “rest” in my daily and weekly goals this year.
How do you find rest? Is rest one of your goals for today, or at minimum for each week?
Lev. 16:31 “It is to be a sabbath of solemn rest for you, that you may humble your souls; it is a permanent statute.
Interesting supplemental reading is found here on the biological Shabbat clock in our bodies
Of course we don’t keep Shabbat because we are biologically attuned for it, but it’s nice to know that the One who created the world in six days and then rested on the seventh, gave us the Shabbat not only as a commemoration of His work, but as a perfectly timed rest from ours.